Local Authority News
The Highland Council has agreed a budget for 2017-18, which includes a council tax increase of 3%. A package of £10.689m savings were agreed for 2017-18, on top of £5.824m savings agreed in previous budgets.
Member of the Caithness Area Committee have given the go-ahead to a project to improve the safety of pupils walking and cycling to and from Miller Academy in Thurso. £20,000 will be spent creating a footpath and installing a barrier with linings on the ground to make the usage of the drop off area at the school safer for pupils.
New cutting-edge careers spaces aimed at inspiring youngsters have opened in Inverness. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Chair John F.
In another challenging financial year, the Highland Council Administration has pledged to protect education services in the 2017/18 budget. The Highland Council will consider next year's budget at its meeting on Thursday 16 February.
The Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent), has welcomed KLM's announcement today of a second daily service from Inverness to Amsterdam starting from 15 May 2017 to complement the existing service. Cllr Davidson said: "This news of a second daily flight between Inverness and Amsterdam is splendid news! This expanded service means we are better able to make the most of global connections between Schiphol and key markets throughout the world.
The long-term future of a section of Harbour Quay in Wick was secured last week when The Highland Council sold the historic buildings to Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL), ahead of plans to develop the disused buildings as part of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Base for the Beatrice offshore windfarm development. This landmark transaction welcomes significant investment and job creation within the Conservation Area of Lower Pulteneytown.
Prospective candidates at the forthcoming Highland Council elections on 4 May 2017 and their agents are being invited to attend one of a series of six awareness briefing sessions being held by the Returning Officer, Steve Barron, Chief Executive of The Highland Council. The sessions will take place in Inverness, Fort William, Portree, Dingwall, Golspie and Wick.
Proposals going before The Highland Council on Thursday propose a reduction of £220,000 from a total budget of £3.029 million. Budget Leader, Cllr Bill Fernie said: "In our original proposals were looking at a cut of £660,000 from the street cleaning budget, so the cut we are now proposing is significantly less by two thirds.
Highland Council Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson is pleased that the authority's Countryside Ranger and Access Team will be retained in the council's budget proposals for 2017/18. The Council has listened to representations from members of the public and organisations about the authority’s Countryside Ranger Service and Access Team.
The Council's budget gap for 2017/18, the difference between required expenditure and income, is £20.344m. Budget proposals include increasing the rates of Council Tax by the maximum allowed 3%.
Highland Council has today confirmed that the planned decant and operational date for the new Wick Campus will be pushed back, with the facilities now to open following the Easter 2017 school holidays. Having assessed the building following handover by Hub North Scotland and Morrison Construction, the Council has reached the conclusion that the level of snagging and other works still to be completed does not allow it to commence its February decant plan, as had previously been advised to stakeholders.
Motorists are being advised that pay and display parking at Highland Council's headquarters car park comes into force on Monday 13 February 2017. The pay and display scheme is part of the Council's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement across the Highlands.
The Administration of The Highland Council is hoping to balance the council's budget with far fewer job losses and cuts to services than previously feared. Following considerable analysis of potential savings and consultation with staff and opposition groups, the Administration have developed a package of proposals to take to the Council meeting on 16 February for approval.
Highland Council continues to work with consulting engineers, Aecom, to find an affordable solution for the refurbishment of the Coghill Footbridge, Wick. New information on ground conditions, received in December 2016, has resulted in design changes and impacted significantly upon construction cost estimates, now in excess of the capital budget of £505,000 available to the project.
Highland Council has updated Wick Campus stakeholders and confirmed that the Campus has now been handed over by Hub North Scotland to the Council. The building is not as yet operational, and there are a number of outstanding works to be completed.
From 1 April 2017 the Scottish Government is changing the basis on which properties are assessed for Council Tax and this will increase the charge for Council Tax properties that are banded E to H. The Highland Council has no discretion in this matter and must apply these increases to the Council Tax charges from 1 April 2017.
Highland Council is encouraging people across the region to have a go at balancing the Council's books - using a budget simulator. The Council is seeking feedback from local people as it prepares for the reduction in funding it receives from the Scottish Government.
Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent) has welcomed the outcome of the vote yesterday, 17th January 2017, in the Scottish Parliament, on the motion to reverse the decision to scrap the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Cllr Davidson said: "This vote sends a strong message to the Scottish Government about their incessant centralising agenda and we would now urge Ministers to reconsider their entire approach.
The deadline for commenting on The Highland Council's draft Landscape Appraisals to help in the consideration of future proposals for wind energy development is drawing near - but has been extended to 31 January 2017. Two landscape sensitivity appraisals are currently being consulted on: one for the Caithness study area and another covering The Black Isle, surrounding hills and Moray Firth Coast.
The Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has written to the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing MSP, in relation to the recent press coverage on concerns raised about the handling of emergency calls in the Highlands and Islands. Councillor Davidson said: "It does raise concerns over the Government's decision to close the Inverness Fire control room and transfer responsibility for handling emergency calls to Dundee.