Council Budget Consultation With The Public 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
Sam MacNaughton, The Highland Councilās Head of Transport and Infrastructure today (Friday) retires after 44 years service in local government during which time he has secured many millions of pounds of investment in the Highlands to improve the Highland transport network. Sam, who hails from Lochaber, is married to Anne and they have three daughters, Mairi, Sarah and Chirsty.
The Highland Councilās Trading Standards Officers are warning sun-lovers bound for Turkey not to be caught out by a new visa system which requires for a visa to be applied for before travel. Britons have always been issued with a visa stamp in their passports on arrival for a Ā£10 fee, but this will begin to come to an end from 11 April 2014, meaning visitors will have to apply online for an electronic visa (e-Visa) before travel.
Highland Councillors are united in their support for proposed new legislation aimed at cutting accidents on our roads involving young drivers. Leaders of all political groupings on the Council back the introduction of a Graduated Driver Licensing system for new drivers in Scotland, which would restrict their permissions in driving unsupervised until they have gained adequate experience.
The Highland Council has warmly welcomed publication of a report by The Care Inspectorate of their recent inspection of childrenās services in the Highlands. This inspection, which took place in October and November 2013, covered the range of services in the Council area that provide services to children, young people and families, including education, health, social work, police and the voluntary sector.
The Highland Council today (Tuesday 1st April 2014) welcomes the commencement of the High Hedges (Scotland) Act, which brings into being new powers to resolve high hedge disputes between neighbours. Subject to certain criteria, people across Highland are now able to apply to the Council for a 'High Hedge Notice' where a hedge on neighbouring property is having an adverse impact on the enjoyment of their home or garden as a result of loss of light.
The Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Drew Hendry has praised the āstunningā success of the Councilās Homeless Prevention team in achieving a 53% reduction in homeless presentations and a 33% reduction in the use of temporary accommodation since their creation in June 2011. Speaking at the Highland Homelessness conference in Nairn today (Wednesday) Councillor Hendry revealed that the team has worked with 4,269 households, recording a 65% "success" rate in terms of homeless presentations prevented.
A new leadership group has been set up to drive forward a Highland Science Academy that will be a catalyst for bringing new jobs and ground-breaking educational and IT advances to the region. The move brings together The Highland Council, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the University of the Highlands and Islands in a landmark partnership that will deliver a new and innovative programme of work-based learning, ranging from pre-school to higher education.
The Highland Council has reviewed its Community Challenge Fund one year after its introduction and agreed measures to encourage and support more community groups to bid into the Ā£1 million fund. Three community groups have applied successfully for funding.
Pupils, parents and carers are being informed that the price of school meals will increase in Highland primary and secondary schools from Tuesday 22 April 2014 when pupils return from the Easter holidays and the new spring-summer menu starts. The price of a primary school two course traditional lunch will increase to Ā£1.95 and for secondary schools to Ā£2.15.
The Highland Council has agreed plans to implement a review of Customer Services. The Council has agreed to spend Ā£68,500 from the Strategic Change and Development Fund to enhance the Councilās web site so that the public can conduct more transactions online and the Service Centre, which handles phone queries from customers.
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