Whatever the political and economic climate post the referendum in September the uncomfortable realities that Highland Council have to face still have to come home to roost but before there are any cuts the public will be asked for their ideas. The Highland Council website puts a figure on what has to come out of the budget: “Dates have been set for a series of 13 budget events being held by The Highland Council to consult with the public over spending priorities between 2015-2019 during which time the Council has to find savings of an estimated £63 million.” More details here.
Local Councillor Colin MacAulay gave a pretty sobering vision of what is to come to River CC members on Wednesday night in the URC hall He said there would be a Nairn Ward Budget Consultation meeting on Thursday the 12th of June in the Courthouse and then stated:
“We know we are going to have significantly fewer resources, before we are hit with the sharpness of that we want to do a two stage consultation where folk look at it in the first instance. Proposals then come forward and we’ll have a range of ways of working to do that but using the citizens’ panel, using a citizens’ forum kind of thin. Just we can talk about salami slicing, the level of cut we are going to be experiencing in two years time, taking two percent off here and three percent off it – it’s not going to do. We need to do either less or differently and we need that kind of conversation over a period of time.”
Harking back to the old days and a former consultation by the old administration, Liz MacDonald said with a touch of irony that brought laughter to the room: “ and there’s no proposals in our budget consultation to close the swimming pool.”
Colin continued “This is about folk trying to be creative and thinking, what are we doing in manner A that could actually be done in manner B or get more out of fashion C or whatever else? It’s not going to be easy the next several years at all.”