MONEY-saving measures have been agreed by Moray Council in a bid to balance the 2019/20 budget.
Despite saving £43million over the last 10 years, Moray Council is predicting a £12million shortfall in income in the next financial year and will need to spend £4.8million from reserves during 2019/20 to meet spending requirements.
Yesterday councillors gave the green light to progress more than £5million of savings for next year, which could potentially see up to 136 job losses. A number of savings proposals will be consulted on before a final decision is taken by councillors.
Many internal savings will be implemented immediately including reducing fuel costs, reducing operational budgets and savings are also being made from the use of online services. Others, including introducing a charge for the collection of garden waste, changing the opening hours of recycling centres and increased commercialisation of the council’s leisure service, will take place during 2019/20.
Engagement with the public and community groups will take place to influence how a number of savings are taken forward; this includes reducing the opening hours at council Access Points, reducing the street sweeping service, closing Elgin Community Centre and reducing library opening hours.
Leader of Moray Council, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, acknowledged the financial constraints the local authority is faced with but said continued investment is vital.
“Despite challenging financial circumstances in recent years we’ve seen investments that have brought much to be positive about in Moray, including new schools and homes. There can be no doubt that there are difficult times ahead but we’ll continue to invest where this will make a significant contribution towards delivering the council’s vision of making life better for everyone in Moray.
“However, we all know this won’t be easy and will be set in a context of continuing long-term financial constraints, which means that things will have to change and that some things will stop.
“Unfortunately this will lead to redundancies within our workforce, and we’re working with staff to support them through a consultation process.
“There are some savings which we’ll be implementing immediately, so we can begin to make savings straight away, and others which will be brought in over time. We’ll shortly be launching a programme of engagement so that community groups and residents can have their say on the savings proposals, and I urge everyone to take part so we can have an honest dialogue about the financial challenges we’re facing.”
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.