Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cuts in the winter maintenance service provision but "The savings have limited impact on Resources in Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey area."

Yet another report going before our Councillors on the area committee concerning "Winter Maintenance Priority Network" (this observer is taking a big gamble here and translating that into "gritting") states:

"Highland Council agreed on 18th December 2014 as part of a wider savings review to target £0.48m of savings within the current £5.494m budget."

A little further into the report it states:

"The savings proposal specifically being “provision of a more focused delivery of the Winter Maintenance Policy. Targeting Primary & Secondary routes first and only moving to the lowest category “Other” when the first two priorities have been completed”.

Have a continued browse of this report however and a statistic of 45% of Nairn falls in this "other" category. We have quiet a lot of "other" then that won't get touched until the "more focused" bitties get down - a correct interpretation? This observer estimates that the cut amounts to more or less 11.5% of the budget. Perhaps Gurnites that haven't been in the pub having a wee blether tonight might have a better calculator to hand however. 

More worryingly another paragraph in the report states:

"The resulting savings target across Highland is 12 gritting vehicles plus 12 FTE posts over the financial years 2015/16 & 2016/17.2

Could we be forgiven for hoping that we have a mild winter this year?

And not specifically a rural issue but may have rural implications?

"The re-focussing of the Winter Maintenance provision within the policy may mean that some roads within the “Other” category receive a lesser treatment than has been custom in previous years. Whilst this is not specifically a rural issue, it may have Rural implication in some areas of Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey."

The officials recommend to our councillors: "The Area Committee is invited to agree the Winter Maintenance priority network of Primary and Secondary roads presented in Appendix B for the 2015/16 winter service period."

Will Liz, Stephen, Laurie and Micheal agree with this recommendation tomorrow? Is the "hierachy of priorities" what we as citizens should expect - not specifically rural but may have rural implications - would you vote for that?  Read the report for yourself by going to this Area Committee agenda page and downloading the report to councillors by clicking on item 11. 

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