Council tax will rise by 3% in Aberdeenshire, posts will go and services cut in a budget dubbed a “catalogue of horrors”.
Aberdeenshire Council will have £565 million to fund services in the 12 months starting in April – £27m less than it needs to pay for the services it provides.
Rates will rise to plug the gap, so those living in a Band D property who are paying £1,642.02 in council tax in 2018/19 will pay £1,691.28 in 2019/20.
The council previously said up to 150 posts could go and its leader Conservative Councillor Jim Gifford said yesterday: “I expect to see further vacancy management or redesigning services and retraining employees to take on new roles.
“We do not want to make anyone compulsorily redundant and will do everything in our power to avoid this – but we must be realistic.
“I struggle to see how there won’t be an impact on our workforce.”
At yesterday’s meeting, the opposition SNP and Labour partnership proposed to implement cuts and raise council tax by 3% – as did the Tories and Lib Dem ruling partnership.
The Democratic Independent and Green group proposed to increase council tax by 4.3% and avoid cuts.
The Conservative/Lib-Dem motion was successful.
It means the council’s local bus and dial-a-bus network will lose around £560,000 a year – and there is a proposal to change 29 bus services by, for example, withdrawing some evening and weekend services.
Non-recyclable bins will be collected every three weeks, saving up to £156,000 annually.
Mr Gifford said: “The budget is one of the most difficult any of us has been involved with and the implications of the changes required to set a balanced budget will be felt across all our communities.”
His Conservative group claims the SNP-led Scottish Government does not give the council enough cash as just two other local authorities in Scotland get less.
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Responding, the council’s SNP group leader Richard Thomson said: “It’s very easy to call for more money from the Government but it’s totally and utterly fraudulent to call for that extra resource without saying where you would take it from.
“If you want to take it out of the NHS or transport budget, that’s fine, but say so – there’s no magic money tree out there.”
He added: “Nobody wants to pay more council tax than they have to but it’s a small price to pay to sustain services we all take for granted.”
Democratic Independent and Green group councillor Martin Ford described the budget as a “catalogue of horrors”.
He added: “We’ve heard around the chamber ‘increased tax is bad’ interspersed with concerns about a lack of funding for council services.
“For goodness sake, colleagues – the two things are flipsides of a coin! You cannot have one without the other.”