Council Budget Consultation With The Public 2012
19th August 2012
The Highland Council has today (Monday 20th august 2012) launched a three-month long public consultation to help bridge a projected budget gap of almost £30 million over the next two financial years. A series of Ward Forums as well as briefing events with business, voluntary and specialist groups are planned before 19 October to complement the views expressed by staff, trade unions and the Council's Citizen Panel of 2,300 residents.
The public can also access the budget information and comment online.
The aim is to bring a report to the full Council in December and agree the budget for 2013/14 and 2014/15 in February of next year.
The savings required by the Council in 2013/14 and 2014/15 are £29.7 million. Already proposed are savings of £17.8 million, leaving a gap of £11.9 million.
The public will be asked to comment on four main areas of operation:-
Ways of working
Infrastructure and resources
Council Leader Councillor Drew Hendry said: "The assistance we received from the public two years ago was invaluable and therefore we intend to build on this success in repeating the exercise. The financial environment looks challenging even beyond the next two financial years so the consultation will also assist in our longer term budget planning."
Leading the consultation is Councillor Dave Fallows, Chairman of the Finance Housing and Resources Committee. He will be attending the public consultation meetings and moderating a budget blog on the Council's web site, which will be launched on Monday 27 August. Each week, he will introduce a new subject for discussion, starting with education.
He recalled the success of a similar budget consultation in 2010 when the comments of the public helped the Council agree a package of savings for three years totalling £55 million. The public had told the Council it needed to look at income generation, management costs and making the best use of its assets.
The Council had since introduced advertising in Council publications and on its web site; reduced management costs by £1.3 million; and transferred the running of culture and leisure services to a not-for-profit organisation - High Life Highland.
The Council had also moved to fortnightly bin collections and reduced costs on street lighting through dimming and off-peak switch off of lights.
He said: "Following the close of our consultation, all comments will be collated and analysed. The findings will be considered and firm budget proposals will be developed. Some of these proposals will be considered when the Council meets in December and the final proposals at a meeting of the Council in February, next year. We will assess any proposals for the impact they may have on different groups within our community."
Budget Consultation Events
Have your say on our Budget Consultation by coming along to one of our consultation events that are taking place across the Highland area.
A full list of dates and venues are outlined below. Each event will start at 6.30pm.
Please contact the appropriate Ward Manager should you have any queries.
3rd Portree High School, Portree
4th Caol Community Centre, Fort William
11th Norseman Hotel, Wick
12th venue to be confirmed, Aviemore
13th Durness Village Hall, Durness
17th Lochcarron Village Hall, Lochcarron
19th Mercat Centre, Milton
20th Inverness High School, Inverness
24th Brora Community Centre, Brora
26th Rosebank Primary School, Nairn
1st Victoria Park, Dingwall
30th Culloden Academy Complex, Inverness
The Highland Council has agreed to invest Â£2.36 million in repairing the regional road network. The non-earmarked balance of reserves from 2014-15 is Â£5.928 million.
Councillor Helen Carmichael who represents Aird and Loch Ness Ward was elected as the new Provost and Leader of Inverness and Area today (Thursday 25 June 2015). Nominated by Councillor Margaret Davidson, and seconded by Councillor Jim Crawford, Councillor Carmichael was duly elected at a special meeting of the City of Inverness Area Committee held at Council Headquarters in Inverness.
Eight businesses are the first in Highland to successfully apply for free Broadband Connection Vouchers which will now enable them to boost their broadband to make sure they benefit from new IT opportunities and better productivity. The scheme, which provide grants of up to Â£3,000 to help small businesses and charities is funded by the UK Government's SuperConnected Cities Initiative and is administered locally by The Highland Council in conjunction with City of Edinburgh Council.
At its meeting on 16 June 2015, the Highland Licensing Board approved the final terms of its Supplementary Licensing Policy Statement on Extended Hours for Special Events of Local or National Significance. This supplements the Board's main Licensing Policy Statement 2013-2016 and will have effect as Board Policy until November 2016, when the main Statement is next due for review.
On Friday 26 June, the Caithness District Partnership will meet in full as part of the arrangements under the Planning for Integration (P4i) partnership between the NHS and The Highland Council. Issues to be discussed will include updates on the NHS redesign of Caithness General Hospital and local NHS staffing.
On Wednesday 10th June 2015 The Highland Council held a facebook chat giving lots of information and advice on what people can do to ensure they are receiving the correct benefits and tax credits, as well as giving handy tips on how to manage budgets and avoid getting into debt. Staff from the Council's Income Maximisation and Money Advice teams spent two hours on facebook answering questions on benefits, welfare, money advice and personal budgeting.
A special meeting of the Council was held this morning to form a new Administration and elect a Leader and senior officer bearers. It was agreed that a Minority Administration of the Independent Group would lead the Council with Cllr Margaret Davidson as elected Leader.
High Life Highland has today announced that the contract to provide new improved facilities at Thurso Swimming Pool has been awarded to local contractor O'Brien Construction Ltd. The project jointly funded by The Highland Council and sportscotland will see a total investment of Â£2.7M in the facility providing a new gym/fitness suite, a new dance studio, steam room , sauna, new changing village and replacement of the roof.
Following a submission to apply for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support "Scotland's 8th City - the Smart City" Strategic Intervention, members have approved in principle, for the council to continued engagement with the Scottish Cities Alliance and Highland partners to progress a number of projects while the application is being considered. Â£1.8million of the Â£10m applied for has been ring-fenced for Inverness and the Highlands for projects that use data and technology to enhance the delivery of services, promote economic growth, increase sustainability, provide open data and engage more actively with people and communities.
On Wednesday 3 June 2015 Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee members agreed the final allocation of capital funds for road improvements, bridges and flood prevention schemes for the next three years. The additional funding is over and above that currently allocated for named major projects including the Westlink, Inshes Junction, Stromeferry and the Kinnairdie Link Road in Dingwall.
[Printer Friendly Version]