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.
Works are to begin on an additional £1.5M worth of repair schemes on Highland Council roads this summer. Cllr Alister Mackinnon, Highland Council's Budget Leader said: "At the Council's meeting in March, Members agreed a revised 5 year Capital Plan and agreed to prioritise roads maintenance if there was any underspend in the Council's capital programme for 2018/19.
Highland Council is issuing a reminder to owners of private water supplies and landlords of tenants on private water supplies that it is their responsibility to arrange for the provision of water to their properties. As a result of the prolonged recent dry weather Highland Council's, Environmental Health Team is receiving a few calls from individuals on private water supplies that are drying up.
The Highland Licensing Board has begun consultation on its next Statement of Licensing Policy for the period November 2018 to November 2023. The aim of the Policy Statement is to promote consistency in decision-making on all types of liquor licence applications and to give applicants advance notice of the Board's likely approach to determining licence applications.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce the recent appointment of 5 Head and 10 Acting Head Teachers across the region's schools. All the new teachers will be in their posts by the new term in August 2018.
The Highland Council has approved the recruitment process for a new Chief Executive to replace Steve Barron when he retires in the autumn. Applicants are invited to apply for this important top position to lead one of the largest local authorities in Europe, by the 31 July.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap of up to £124.9 million. Over the period 2013/14 to 2018/19 the Highland Council has already had to approve budget savings of £102.1 million as well as agree Council tax rises of 3% in each of the last two years in order to deliver a balanced budget.
The Highland Council has been awarded two commendations and a first place at the 2018 Scottish Regional Energy Efficiency Awards (external link) for the Highland Home Energy Efficiency Programme. These awards recognise the efforts made to eliminate fuel poverty and improve the energy efficiency of homes in the UK.
The purchase of a significant site on the southern side of Inverness' Bridge Street was completed on Thursday 28 June 2018, it is confirmed by The Highland Council. As announced at the start of June by Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of The Highland Council, and Mr Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, the purchase will support the development of Inverness Castle and the regeneration of the surrounding area of the city centre.
PROGRESS of City-Region Deal projects has been reported to The Highland Council at its meeting today, 28 June 2018. The city-region deal is made up of ten discrete projects, each led by one of the partners.
Council has considered and agreed recommendations from a review of car parking by the Redesign Board. A peer review of car parking was requested by the Redesign Board, with the scope of the review agreed in November 2017.
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