Council to set budget for the year ahead

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Aberdeenshire Council will meet to set its budget on Thursday, February 9.Aberdeenshire Council Logo

Read here to find out about the role your feedback played.

Councillors will have the chance to consider a package of savings worth over £24 million and debate a potential Council Tax rise in order to deliver a balanced budget.

As the budget report sets out, the council will receive £7.4 million less from Scottish Government than in 2016, with no provision for increased demand on services or inflation.

A package of savings has been developed which includes procurement, treasury management and re-profiling the Capital Plan, along with service proposals covering delayed recruitment to vacant posts, the ongoing process of re-designing services, increasing charges and disposing of properties.

Councillors will also have the opportunity to decide whether to pass across all the funding for the Integrated Joint Board, which supports health and social care services.

The budget has been informed by the major engagement exercise which took place in December 2016. The campaign reached an audience of almost 180,000 through social media, with 3,514 visits to the budget webpages.

Councillors have used the responses from the engagement to inform their budget proposals, which include raising charges for some services and investing in renewable energy and solar panels. Raised charges will impact on things like the letting out of council buildings, buying community bedding plants, and out of school clubs and sports and physical activities.

The engagement activity also advised that respondents were generally supportive of raising Council Tax, and supported a range of savings proposals including streamlining waste collection routes, cleaning bus shelters every eight weeks instead of four, and reviewing the school transport network. The full engagement results can be found on the council’s website here.

For the first time in nine years, councils will be given the opportunity to consider raising Council Tax up to 3%. Any rise would come on top of an additional £8.3 million generated through Council Tax reform at a national level which affects bands E to H and has already been legislated for.

Council Budget Plans – Have Your Say

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This year there is a brand new approach to simplify and illustrate the challenges faced – make your voice heard.

Each year, Aberdeenshire Council engages with staff and local residents on budget plans to ensure the voice of communities comes through in any and all budget setting decisions.

This year, in place of traditional surveys and written text, is a suite of infographics. Each paints a picture of a different part of council budget setting. Attached to each infographic is a short set of questions, in some cases just two questions, where you can share your views. Please respond to as many topics as you feel passionate about.

The engagement process is open now to anyone who lives and works in Aberdeenshire. It will close at the start of January, giving enough time for the results to be passed to councillors who in turn will use them to inform their decision making for the coming financial year.

View the infographics and associated questions on the Aberdeenshire Council website.