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).
Following the latest round of consultation onf the Main Issues Report for the Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan, yesterday (Tuesday 26 May) members of the Area Committee were presented with a summary of matters raised by members of the public and gave their feedback on a number of issues. The CaSPlan Main Issues Report (MIR) it is a discussion document that sets out initial ideas for what the plan needs to achieve for people and places in the area and the Council's initial preferences for where new development might be located.
Nominations are invited from people seeking election to three community councils in the Highlands for Smithton and Culloden Community Council (Inverness); Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council (Black Isle); and Bower Community Council (Caithness). The deadline for receiving nominations for each community council election is: Â· 4pm on Wednesday 27 May 2015 for Smithton and Culloden; Â· 4pm on Wednesday 3 June 2015 for Fortrose and Rosemarkie; and Â· 4pm on Wednesday 10 June 2015 for Bower.
A local businessman has given a Formal Undertaking in court in Inverness to not mislead consumers following action by Highland Council Trading Standards. Donald MacLean, the owner of Bearnock Country Centre, Bearnock Country Cottages and the Bearnock Hostel Glenurquhart, Drumnadrochit, made the pledge in Inverness Sheriff Court after Trading Standards had applied for an Order under the Enterprise Act 2002.
COUNCILLORS have expressed concerns over the closure of banks in Highland communities. Chair of Resources Committee Maxine Smith responded to the announcement that RBS is to close its branch in Invergordon, where there are no remaining banks.
Far reaching strategies for improving the success rate of Head Teacher recruitment in the Highlands are being devised by The Highland Council. Members of the Council's Education, Children and Adult Services Committee have taken part in local workshops with Education staff to consider strategies to address the current challenges facing the recruitment of Head Teachers in the region.
The public is being asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to review the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hire cars fitted with taxi meters operating under licence of The Highland Council. The Council has a statutory duty in terms of Section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to review its scales for the fares and other taxi related charges every 18 months.
THE Highland Council and Police Scotland aim to prevent child sexual exploitation in the Highlands by raising awareness of the signs of abuse. Children's Services in Highland have been working in close partnership with Police Scotland and built on established positive relationships to tackle this form of sexual abuse which can impact on young people.
PROGRESS towards the Council Programme "Working Together for the Highlands" was reviewed by Highland Council at its meeting yesterday as part of a review of the performance framework which monitors performance against the Programme. Two commitments are marked as being achieved in 2013-14.
Highland MSP, Rhoda Grant is warning that the future of three Highland UK Parliamentary constituencies will be put under threat again by Conservative Party plans to push forward with a Boundary Commission review which could see the Highland Council area, which currently returns three MPs to Westminster, fall to two at the next UK Parliament elections, scheduled for 2020. Rhoda Grant MSP is cautioning that under proposed changes the Highlands will have a reduced voice at Westminster, saying: "The Highlands is one of the most challenging areas for politicians to represent due to the unique geography and size of the region and its constituencies.
Rose Street Parking Prices lowered from 11 May 2015. HIGHLAND Council Community Services have listened to concerns raised about the Rose Street parking charges which were introduced on 1 April and a revised pricing structure will be implemented from today, 11 May.
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