Controversial parking survey first victim of budget plans

Details on planned budget cuts revealed
Details on planned budget cuts revealed

A CONTROVERSIAL REVIEW of parking in Elgin at a cost of £60,000 that was only agreed in December may not go ahead as planned.

The review is included in a number of measures that will be subjected to a delay of at least a year if budget proposals being put to the special meeting of Moray Council on Wednesday goes ahead.

Postponing the review will require a suspension of the Council’s own standing orders that normally forbid such a rapid change of direction.

The details of the proposals being put to the Council on Wednesday notes that Moray Council has already seen savings of almost £25m put in place over the last five years – noting that around £7million will be drawn from reserves this year to reduce the impact on services, but that further significant cuts will be required next year.

In her paper the Council’s Head of Financial Services, Margaret Wilson, notes that Moray Council’s grant allocation is the sixth lowest in Scotland when calculated per head of the population.

A raft of temporary measures listed in order to save funding in the next financial year includes, as well as the postponement of the Elgin parking review, includes a ‘temporary reduction’ in the Moray Towns Partnership budget of £60,000 – a measure that will impact on improvements already planned by community groups in Keith, Buckie, Lossiemouth and Forres.

There will also be a reduction of £14,000 in funding supplied to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, £20,000 from advertising of teaching posts, £75,000 to review Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and reductions of £60,000 each in book fund expenditure and contributions to Moray Leisure for annual capital spend.

The successful Be Active Live Long (BALL) activities for older people will also be hit with a £5000 reduction while all Training and Conferences at Moray Council will be suspended with a saving of £146,000.

Permanent Measures

While these measures are temporary, a raft of permanent measures are also being proposed that would include a 10% increase in school meal charges, reduction in car park attendants and the withdrawal of financial support for the Visitor Information Service when the current contract ends in March.

These measures include extensive savings in staff costs, while the Council have promised no job losses there are several vacancies that will not be filled.

The Full Council will meet at 2pm on Wednesday to discuss the proposals, by which time it is expected that the main SNP opposition will have details of their alternative budget saving proposals.

A full copy of the Administration group proposals can be found on the Moray Council website.