Corporate Director Mark Palmer said that a reduction in office accommodation sparked by the £2.5million HQ Annexe completed over three years ago is now making a major difference to the Council running costs while providing better services to the public.
“As well as the annual savings we’ve generated a one-off receipt of £581,000 by selling off surplus properties,” Mr Palmer said, adding: “In addition, our service to the public is so much more convenient as the staff at the new building are able to deal with most enquiries of anyone who needs to attend.
“Add to this the energy efficiency of the building and I would describe this re-design as a real success – taxpayers, staff and the environment all benefit.”
Already 13 council properties in Elgin have been disposed of as surplus to requirements – generating £600,000 to the council reserves. Staff from these properties have been relocated to a refurbished building on Glover Street which now acts as a single access point in the town.
Meanwhile some council properties have been transferred to community use, including what is now the Citizens Advice Bureau on Moss Street and the new Mosque on Gordon Street. Other properties are available on the open market in a series of disposals that has saved the local authority £348,405.
Moray Council leader Stewart Cree said that the move to centralised services was the correct thing to do: “The move to centralise our offices in Elgin was a fundamental part of our modernisation programme designed to improve services to the public throughout Moray.
“When we embarked on this project in 2010 Councillors had to place a great deal of trust in the officers who had brought forward the proposals.
“The establishment of our new premises in Glover Street, and the savings and benefits that arise from this, clearly demonstrate that such trust was well placed and reinforces our confidence in future projects of this nature.”