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 is pleased to announce the recruitment of six new building maintenance apprenticeship positions in four different areas of Highland. The apprenticeships available will be based in Dornoch, Alness, Inverness and Fort William and will cover painting, plumbing and joinery.
The Highland Council and partners are advising motorists of temporary road closures and speed restrictions which will be in place this weekend 25 - 26 April during the Etape Loch Ness cycling event. The restrictions and prohibitions which are being put in place are for participants safety and to allow the Etape to take place on public roads.
"It's business as usual for the majority" is the message that multi-agency partners are conveying to the local community and visitors to Inverness following the fire on Academy Street last week. Businesses unaffected by the fire are open and trading as normal.
A record number of Highland electors have applied to vote by post for the UK Parliamentary elections on Thursday 7 May. A total 32,151 electors across the three Highland constituencies of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; Ross, Skye and Lochaber and Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey will be receiving their postal votes from tomorrow (Tuesday 21 April) onwards.
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.
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