Council leader McColl and Finance convener Ian Dickson.
By Bill Heaney
West Dunbartonshire Council’s formal budget setting will take place as planned on Wednesday, 27 March.
The SNP-run Council claims it has identified a range of cost-saving measures which will plug an anticipated funding gap of just over £4 million in 2019/20 while protecting frontline services.
Councillors heard that the recently announced additional £1.6 million funding from the Scottish Government combined with a range of options to use the Council’s reserves, together with a Council Tax increase of 3% would close the funding shortfall without the need to select from savings options which had been identified by senior managers.
There is also an opportunity to use capital receipts from planned sales of assets to fund debt repayments and the potential to re-profile loans to free up money and reduce payments for the Council over the coming year.
Convener of Corporate Services Councillor Ian Dickson said: “The additional funding from the Scottish Government, combined loan cost reductions and better use of income from sales means there is no requirement to take any of the savings options put forward and therefore no need for a public consultation.
“In March we will be setting a budget which will target extra spending on priority areas to address the needs of our communities without having an adverse impact on the valuable core frontline services which so many of our residents rely on.”
Council leader, Councillor Jonathan McColl, added: “This is positive news for West Dunbartonshire and our residents and I’m pleased to confirm in advance of our formal budget setting in March that we will not be taking any of the savings options put forward.
“Our officers will continue to finalise figures in advance of that meeting where we will present detailed plans for the year ahead.”
West Dunbartonshire has cash reserves to protect the organisation from unexpected costs. Council officers have also contributed to reducing the budget deficit by identifying measures which can be taken internally to operate more efficiently such as reviewing management structures.