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
The Highland Council’s snow clearing / gritting route policies and area maps are online for 2013/14 at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. Road condition and gritting treatment reports by The Highland Council’s, Transport, Environmental and Community Services for Thursday 5 December 2013 are as follows: Caithness, South Sutherland and East Ross U2126 Oykel Bailley Bridge Road closed due to flooding.
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are to work together to ensure parking management is maintained in the Highlands when the traffic warden service – currently provided by the police - ends. Police Scotland have given notice of the completion of their phased withdrawal from the service from 3 February, next year.
Today (5 December 2013) 56 schools, 7 Service Points and council offices were closed due to lack of power, bad weather or loss of water. There were issues with the Council’s website and school closures online which are being investigated.
Currently firms are contacting businesses asking for support for an educational programme on cyber bullying. The line is that councils have cut back on their funding and they can offer help to classes in your local school if you donate to the programme.
Mr Neil Gillies, The Highland Council’s Director of Transport Environmental and Community Services, has announced his decision to retire from the Council, with effect from the end of January, next year. Mr Gillies joined the former Highland Regional Council in 1978 and worked on a wide range of civil engineering projects including roads, bridges, harbours and coast protection works, and road maintenance.
The by-election for a councillor to represent the Landward Caithness Ward (No 4) on The Highland Council has been won by Matthew Reiss, who will join the Independent Group on the Council Mr Reiss was one of five candidates who contested the vacancy, created by the resignation of Alex MacLeod. He joins Councillors David Bremner (Independent), Willie Mackay (Independent) and Gillian Coghill (Independent) in representing the Landward Caithness Ward.
The Highland Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) has been successful in securing further funding to support coastal communities as part of the European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 programme. There is now over £200,000 still available to assist projects which contribute to the sustainable development of fisheries areas around the Highlands.
A key piece of work to maximise the onshore benefits in Caithness and North Sutherland from the anticipated upsurge of marine renewables has been updated to highlight progress already made and to set new targets for the year ahead. The North Highland Onshore Vision was produced by The Highland Council in 2011 to support the development of marine renewable energy developments.
“The North Highlands are ready for winter” was the message given at the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee yesterday (18 November 2014) with staff, vehicles and a plentiful supply of salt in place to treat roads and footpaths over the coming winter months. The Highland Council has increased its winter maintenance budget to £5.6 million this year and has introducing an improved service with 45,500 tonnes of salt in storage in readiness for winter.
At yesterday’s (Monday 18 November 2014) Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee, members heard about the work been done by the North Highland Initiative to develop tourism in the Area with Tom Campbell, Chief Executive outlining some of the exciting destination development projects planned over the next 12 months. The North Highland Initiative (NHI) was launched in August 2005 to promote and develop the economy and to support the rural communities of the North Highlands bringing together the farming community, local businesses and the tourism industry to try to address some of the challenges facing rural communities in the far north of Scotland by creating a powerful regional identity for the area through marketing.
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