Council Revenue Budget Set For 2011/12
11th February 2011
The Highland Council has confirmed a freeze on the Council Tax for a fourth year in succession. The tax for 2011-12 is: Band A: £775.33; Band B: £904.56; C: £1,033.78; Band D: £1,163; Band E: £1,421.44; Band F: £1,679.89; Band G: £1,938.33; Band H: £2,326.
It has also confirmed a balanced revenue budget of £598.8 million for 2011-12. Spending includes £235 million on Education Culture and Sport; £23 million on Children and Young People; £106.55 million on Social Work; £62.8 million on Transport Environmental and Community Services; £9.25 million on Housing and Property.
The total savings now made and identified by the Council (2010-2013) is £55.763 million, leaving a gap of an estimated £3 million - £4 million to be agreed by February 2012.
Councillor David Alston, Budget Leader, said that as a result of recent budget announcements by the UK and Scottish Governments, the Council faced a 2.5% reduction in grant in the new financial year, equivalent to a cut of about 6% in real terms.
He said: "We have been faced with an enormously difficult situation. I think we have dealt with this as best we can. One just needs to look across Scotland, where many other councils are facing much worse decisions than us today.
"This is because we have prepared a three year budget plan and have been prepared to take some tough decisions. My thanks go to everyone in this Chamber who has been prepared to face up to difficult decisions. We have listened to the public through consultation and protected community centre, swimming pools and leisure centres and grants to voluntary organisations.
"I would like to pay tribute to a number of organisations, which have engaged with the council to agree different ways of doing things in a more cost effective way."
He said it was inevitable that there would be fewer jobs in the council in future. "By planning ahead, we have a much better chance of managing any reduction in posts through natural turnover we have in our staff."
The Council also pegged council house rents for 2011-12 to 3% - an average weekly increase of £1.92 per week. The increase will see the average council house rent increasing from £64.15 to £66.07 per week (over 48 weekly charges).
The clockis counting down until the 20th April registration deadline for the UK Parliamentary general election the Electoral Commission and Bill Gillies, Electoral Registration Officer for Highland and Western Isles is calling for anyone who isn't yet registered to go online and do so at www.gov.uk/registertovote before itâ€™s too late. The elections watchdog has been running a national media campaign reminding voters that they canâ€™t take part in the election unless they have registered.
Issued on behalf of the Returning Officer, Highland People who have applied for a postal vote in Highland for the UK Parliamentary General Election are being urged by the Returning Officer for Highland, Steve Barron to check that they receive their ballot paper. Voters who applied for a postal vote on or before Tuesday 7 April 2015 will be sent their postal ballot paper on Monday 20 April via first class post and should receive it no later than Tuesday 21 April.
Following the fire on Academy Street in Inverness the Multi Agency Response Team, which includes representatives from Police Scotland, The Highland Council, Inverness BID, Stagecoach, Structural Engineers and other partners has been put into effect. Structural information has been obtained which has confirmed that, due to its condition, the building the fire broke out in requires scaffolding to be erected around it to make it safe.
A total of 19 candidates are seeking election on Thursday 7 May in the three Highland UK Parliamentary General Election constituencies. Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency has attracted 5 candidates; Ross Skye and Lochaber constituency, 7 candidates; and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency, 7 candidates.
The deadline for members of the public to share their views on The Highland Council's new Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance has been extended to Friday 22 May. Once approved, this guidance will be used for determining planning applications for wind energy development in Highland.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland has begun its consultation with councils on proposed wards for each council area as part of the 5th Reviews of Electoral Arrangements. Its proposals contain recommendations for councillor numbers in each of Scotland's 32 council areas and the number and boundaries of wards for the election of those councillors.
High Life Highland has unveiled expanded and improved facilities at Inverness Botanic Gardens. The new facility was officially declared open at a garland cutting ceremony by Provost of the City of Inverness, Councillor Alex Graham on Monday.
With assistance of a Grant from Historic Scotland, the Mackintosh Brothers have transformed their Dingwall newsagent's premises back to its former Victorian glory and the recent work is attracting very favourable comments from the local community. No 4 High Street, Dingwall is one of a series of Victorian shop premises at the West end of the High Street.
There was a good turn out to the recent public exhibition outlining the Phase 4 proposals for flood protection measures in Smithton and Culloden and the Council is reminding members of the public that there is still time for them to pass on their comments. During the drop-in event, which was held on 10 March in Smithton Free Church, The Highland Council and the scheme designer, JBA, presented works that have been undertaken in phase 1 to 3, to tackle issues and proposals for phase 4 were presented.
The Highland Council's Trading Standards team are warning local businesses about a scam that is currently doing the rounds and is targeting small businesses within the Highland area. A number of complaints have been received from local businesses receiving a letter headed "UK - DATA CONTROL - Missing information about your VAT Registration Number" with â€˜Scotland Business' prominently stated at the top of the first page.
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