>> 28 November 2016
The Partnership Administration of SNP, Labour and Progressive Independent councillors in Aberdeenshire have set out their priorities for the forthcoming budget process.
In the official pre-budget statement, Council Co-Leader Cllr Richard Thomson (SNP-Ellon & District) outlined the priorities for the coming year and set out the next steps.
He set the scene by highlighting the need to continue to deliver quality services in the most efficient way possible. There was recognition of the crucial role the council plays in leading in difficult times; working with communities to identify where interventions can have the greatest impact; and how successes can be attributed through partnerships with other agencies in delivering real, tangible differences across Aberdeenshire.
He went on to focus on priorities:
On housing, he said:
On the City Region Deal he said:
It has been agreed that Banff will receive £710,000; Macduff £901,000; Peterhead £1.566m and Fraserburgh £1,137m.
On the capital plan he said
“This is part of our ambitious Capital Plan where we are committed to investing £100m each year on building and refurbishing a range of council buildings, including schools, leisure facilities and care homes; and investing in infrastructure.”
He touched briefly on the plans for a new HQ for Aberdeenshire Council by confirming the ambition of the administration to developing our plans for a new civic home for the council. A decision on this has been deferred until a working group can fully interrogate the plans. They are due to report initial findings back to Full Council in January.
Looking ahead he had a strong message. On budgets he said:
“I am also confident that our workforce will once again demonstrate their willingness to work with us to continue to deliver vital local public services, finding new and innovative ways to identify savings and deliver services for less.”
He wrapped up by encouraging residents to participate in the soon-to-be-launched budget engagement process. He stressed the importance of getting the views of each and every community to feed into the budget setting process. A consultation will follow which will explain the council tax setting process, the pressures already existing on council services, an explanation of the capital plan and direction for major projects as well as some ideas for how Aberdeenshire Council may do things differently.
Council Co-Leader Cllr Alison Evison (Lab-North Kincardine) followed by adding:
“They also leave scope for broader consultation, for further reflection in conjunction with our communities. There is also time before February to develop Aberdeenshire’s carbon budget and to assess policies against the equalities agenda.”
Members will meet again in February to finalise budgets and set council tax rates for the coming year.