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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Edwards and Crew.
Minute 13 (2016/17 Council Tax Base and NNDR1)) of the meeting of Executive held on 26 January 2016 was taken as read and adopted.
Councillor Sutton, the Deputy Leader of the Council, moved and Councillor Denham seconded the resolution as set out in the agenda and circulated papers in respect of the Council Tax for 2016/17.
The Deputy Leader in presenting the budget stated that the Council, in spite of significant reductions in Government Grant both for the current year and for 2016/17, had achieved significant savings, continued to streamline and modernise the services and found innovative ways of delivering services such as setting up Strata with neighbouring councils to deliver IT services thereby making financial savings of £7 million over the next 10 years and working with partners on the Integrated Care for Exeter [ICE] project, saving money and resources across all the partner organisations.
Delivery of housing remained a priority. In the last year, 26 new council houses had been built for local families and work was to begin on providing an additional 26 new flats for older people adjoining Rennes House. Since 1 April 2014, 64 affordable homes had been delivered with 235 further affordable homes to follow. In Exeter 3,468 new homes had been built since 2011-12 - more than any other district in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay - earning the Council £10.2 million in New Homes Bonus.
Economic growth and job creation remained key goals. New businesses continued to relocate to the city, the Council itself having helped create 476 jobs in the city. New businesses were moving on to the Exeter Science Park and work was progressing on a landmark building to house the Met Office’s £97 million High Performance Computer. A new Leisure Complex built to Passivhaus standards, together with a modernised Bus Station fit to meet the needs of travellers to and from the City, were also planned.
Two major events in and around the City in 2016 were to take place - the Radio 1 Big Weekend at Powderham Castle and the European Rugby sevens event at Sandy Park which would also be held there for the next three years, building on the success of the Rugby World Cup and further enhancing the reputation of the City. Allied to the above was greater investment in the infrastructure of the City, including £1.3 million towards the delivery of the new railway station at Marsh Barton and £1.025 million towards the delivery of a fully operational junction at Sandy Park to enable further development in the area.
The Opposition Leader, whilst recognising some positive aspects within the budget, such as innovative solutions to service delivery as well as the identification of new sources of income, advised that it was a budget that his group would have to abstain on because there were aspects that could not be supported, principally the proposed Bus and Coach station site re-development
Other Members gave their support for the budget, noting that there had been no additional cuts ... view the full minutes text for item 7.