See The Challenges Of Balancing The Council Budget With The Budget Simulator
19th January 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.
The online tool is a new way to do this and gives people the chance to understand the choices facing the local authority and consider how increasing spending in one area means reducing the spend in another.
Budget Leader, Cllr Bill Fernie said "Over the last 6 years around £135 million has been taken out of the Highland Council's budget. This year sees another substantial reduction in funding and together with increases in costs, the budget gap is around £26 million. This is a real challenge for the Council, but we have to deliver a balanced budget. We have done our best to look at how we can make savings whilst causing the least impact on essential services and jobs. We have identified a range of savings to reduce this gap and before we put our full proposals to Council, we would like to understand what is really important to people in the Highlands.
"The Council cannot spend more than it has and there are some areas of the budget that have fixed costs and we cannot cut. The simulator cannot include the entire budget for this reason, but challenges residents to attempt the difficult task of cutting £14million from the budget.
"I would encourage as many people as possible to have a go at this innovative tool. You will also be able to see the potential impacts and consequences of reducing spending in certain areas and the difficult choices that Councillors have to make.
"By participating and showing us how you would choose to allocate the budget, we will gain a clearer understanding of people's priorities across the region as we move forward to set the budget on 16 February."
The budget simulator can be accessed at https://highland.budgetsimulator.com/
The simulator will be open until Monday 5 February 2017.
People in the Highlands are being invited to drop in to new Digital Café sessions which could save them significant amounts of money. The Highland Council in partnership with other Highland Social Landlords and the social enterprise company Libertie are hosting a series of mobile Digital Café events during May 2017.
Mears signs new cost savings deal on PPP Highland schools project. Mears has signed a new deal with the Highland Council which will see millions of pounds saved over the lifetime of the Private Public Partnership (PPP) Highland Schools Project.
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The Highland Council advises that Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) bills for 2017/18 are now being issued. NDR is also known as Business Rates.
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The Highland Council has awarded a contract to a world leading engineering design firm to carry out comprehensive flood protection studies for two Highland coastal towns. Thurso on the north coast and Golspie on the east coast have both suffered from flooding incidents over the years that has affected domestic and business properties and resulted in both towns being identified as Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) in the Highland and Argyll Local Flood Risk Management Plan.
The elections for the 74 seats on The Highland Council, being held on Thursday 4 May, will involve 165 candidates contesting all of the 21 multi-member wards. Caithness will now only have two wards instead of three.
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