Local Authority News
Despite a large budget gap and many reductions that were agreed today the council says they are on course to balance the budget for next year ad following years while building up reserves. The budget for the current year is on course to ring in an underspend.
Highland Council today announced its biggest ever single investment in roads with an extra £20million capital announced in its budget proposals for the year 2020/21. The budget proposals were announced by Budget Leader Alister MacKinnon at a press conference at Highland Council headquarters.
Following the close of nominations at 12 noon on Wednesday 26 February 2020, the outcome is as follows. 2 Community Councils received more nominations than their maximum membership, which means that postal ballots will now be held for Rogart Community Council and Strathnairn Community Council.
An interim update on the development of a new model to assess needs and allocate resource for Additional Support Needs will be reported to the Council's Education Committee on Thursday. The work being carried out is to ensure the Council has a delivery model in place which is agile and flexible to meeting the needs of young people and provides stability for staff.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has warned that the Scottish Government's Budget will hit vulnerable communities the hardest. COSLA has warned the Government that it has not considered successive years of cuts, or rising inflation and demand and have therefore put council services at risk.
The standstill period under the Council's Trades Services Framework agreement was due to close with effect from Monday 17th February 2020, with the intention of a proposed go live date with the new arrangements and contracts of 24th February. The standstill period is a defined period of time between the notice of the contract award decision and the award of the contract.
A study is underway into the feasibility of replacing Scotland's second busiest ferry service with a fixed link bridge or tunnel. The Highland Council, HITRANS and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are joint funding the study at the Corran Narrows in Lochaber.
Following a review taxi fares in Highland have been held at the same level by the Highland Council Licensing Committee held on 18 February 2019. The papers and the debate on this issue can be seen at items six on the webcast - https://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/469655 There is a 14 Day period for appeal.
On 14th February 2020 the Highland council place an advert in the Northern times newspaper regarding the Spaceport planning application as follows. - THE HIGHLAND COUNCIL TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (SCOTLAND) ACT 1997 TOWN and COUNTRY PLANNING (ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2017.
Members today approved a modest 3% rent increase for residential rents and service charges following detailed consultation with tenants. The increase will result in a rise in the average weekly council house rent from £75.38 to £77.74 (£2.26), which means that Highland rents are still 8th lowest of the 26 councils which retain housing.
Highland Council Trading Standards are again warning unsuspecting residents of the emergence of a new Council Tax scam. Today a call was received by the Council from a Council Tax payer alerting to a Council Tax scam whereby scammers are now texting people and informing them that they are due a Council Tax rebate.
Highland Council's new Chief Social Work Officer's first annual report highlights successes and challenges.` Highland Council's new Chief Social Work Officer for Highland Council, Karen Ralston, has enjoyed a successful first year in her role. Members today noted the 2018/19 annual report at the meeting of the Health, Wellbeing and Social Care committee.
The Highland Council has published the Highland Common Good Asset Register following the completion of a consultation process required by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. The Register has been published on the Council's website and can be accessed from the download link on the page titled "Common Good Asset Register" or at the following link: https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/20010/community_planning/840/common_good_asset_register For ease of reference, the Register has been divided in the separate former Burghs having recorded Common Good Funds - Cromarty, Dingwall, Dornoch, Fortrose and Rosemarkie, Invergordon, Inverness, Nairn and Tain.
According to the draft Scottish Govenment budget, Highlands and Islands Enterprise will get £58.2 million in the upcoming financial year - down from £61.1 million last year. 2018/19 the budget was £71.7 million.
The Highland Licensing Committee, at their meeting on 14 January 2020, made their final resolution in relation to the licensing of the public performance of plays under the public entertainment licensing regime after the repeal of the Theatres Act 1968. This was after the completion of the 28 day statutory consultation period as set out in section 9 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.
At a special meeting of the former Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, held in October last year, Councillors agreed a new approach to the introduction of car parking charges across the area that will see a surplus of income split 50/50 with local areas. At today's (Thursday 6 February) meeting of The Highland Council's new Economy and Infrastructure Committee members had the opportunity to discuss the progress made in implementing the first phase of the off-street car parking policy.
In Caithness - Cairhness West. Nominations are invited from people seeking election to 16 Community Councils across the Highlands that remained unformed after the elections held in December last year.
On 6th February 2020 the newly formed Economy and Infrastructure Committee of Highland Council will consider the way forward and approach to bring in parking charges in a number of areas including Wick and East Caithness. Item 7 on the agenda for the meeting is Off-Street Car Parking Policy - Update and sets out the way for ward for information and consultations.
Leader of The Highland Council will highlight the need for investment in roads at tomorrow's Corporate Resources meeting, Thursday 30 January 2020, in the light of an improving financial outlook. After considerable effort by officials and councillors, a revenue monitoring report is forecasting a net year end underspend of £0.452m based on current trends.
A proposed 3% rent increase for 2020/21 was agreed by Highland Council's new Housing and Property Committee today, 29 January. This would result in an increase in the average weekly council house rent from £75.38 to £77.64 (£2.26 per week).