The revenue budget and capital proposals have been published ahead of the budget setting meeting on Thursday (Feb 21) where Councillors will consider and decide the financial plan for the coming year.
Residents have been at the heart of the budget planning via the Council’s Big Conversation. This innovative consultation process has seen more than 1000 ideas received from both Council staff and the public, along with the staging of over 70 community events and a string of public sessions.
Among the Council’s proposals are investments in initiatives which include the school holiday meal provision, measures to mitigate Universal Credit, funding for events and a rural transport pilot, along with public realm and environmental improvements for Plean, Fallin, Hillpark, Bannockburn and Cowie.
There would be further investment across capital projects, including £4.6m for road improvements and modernisation, more than £300,000 to enhance parks and play areas, £1m for major flood prevention schemes, over £5.5 million for enhancing schools and the expansion of Early Learning and Childcare, and £600,000 for projects as part of the City Region Deal
Over the next five years, a gap of £32 million is anticipated between what the Council receives in funding and revenue and the cost of delivering its services and this will have to be addressed through future budget setting.
The Administration budget proposals are based on a Council Tax rise of 4 per cent – which would be an increase of 95p per week for a house in band D – to protect essential services and would also include the following:
- Generating income from utilising capacity in Brucefield Children’s Home
- The removal of the 10% Council Tax discount on Second Homes
- A net increase in the contribution to the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership
- A review of car parking charges and the introduction of parking charges at Castleview Park and Ride
- A one-off £100k reduction in Stirling Business Investment Fund, to be added back over 3 years.
The Administration is also proposing to reject a number of budget proposals including:
- A reduction in bus station opening hours
- Stopping the Council’s Ranger Service
- A reduction in funding for assisted transport provision
- Reducing general amenity grass cutting
- A review and redesign of play and early intervention
Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer said: “In this challenging financial time for all local authorities, we have worked hard to ensure that we can continue to deliver key services, support communities and invest in growing Stirling’s economy.
“Residents have been at the heart of shaping these budget proposals through the Big Conversation, and we have listened to their views and suggestions in putting these proposals forward.”
Stirling Council Deputy Leader Danny Gibson said: “Everyone is aware of the financial realities facing Councils across Scotland, but we are determined to protect vital frontline public services wherever possible and invest in infrastructure so that the Stirling Council area continues to prosper.
“We are grateful for the feedback received from our residents, local organisations, staff and trade unions over the past months and we will maintain an open dialogue to ensure the Council faces the challenges ahead.”
It will be for Councillors to decide on the budget for 19/20 at a Special Council meeting on Thursday.