Residents have their say on council finances

Ending the use of bilingual road signs was among suggestions put forward by members of the community.

Want to read more?

We value our content and access to our full site is only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Already a subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Cutting the number of councillors, ending the use of Gaelic or bilingual signs, and running a lottery are among the actions suggested by residents to help Argyll and Bute Council balance its finances.

The ideas were among a total of 1,399 responses received by the authority to a consultation on its budget, run from October to December.

More than 2,300 comments were given by the residents who responded, who included community councils, school parent councils and youth forums.

A report compiled on the findings of the consultation also found that the proposed savings options which received the highest number of objections included pupil support assistants, public conveniences, psychological services and school crossing patrols.

No figures were given for how many objections each received.

The findings of the report were due to be debated by the council’s policy and resources committee yesterday (February 20) as part of its budgeting pack.

All four of the options which attracted the highest level of opposition will be considered by the committee at this week’s meeting.

The document, by interim executive director Kirsty Flanagan, states: ‘This year’s consultation asked people to tell us about their priorities for the work of Argyll and Bute Council, and their views on a number of savings options.

‘It was promoted in a variety of ways, from social media and website links, to email, in council customer service points, and via the Citizen’s Panel.

‘People could give views on the council’s website, in printed copies available in libraries and council offices, through our Youth Services, and via our Citizens Panel.

‘We received in total 1,399 responses from residents aged 11 to 75+ across Argyll and Bute, and from Community Councils, community groups, School Parent Councils and Youth Forums.’

As well as a reduction in councillors, senior and middle management staff, and stopping Gaelic and bilingual signs, a number of other possible savings were put forward by residents.

These included a reduction in travel and expenses, making better use of video conferencing facilities, and reducing the number of primary schools and transport to those schools.

A reduction in the level of services delivered across a wide range of areas was also mentioned by people who responded.

A lottery was one of the possible new sources of income suggested, along with a tourist tax, the sale of Oban Airport, and a congestion charge.

It was also suggested that the council could explore advertising or sponsorship, charge for the collection of garden waste, or increase charges such as council tax, commercial waste and planning officer time.

Caption: Ending the use of bilingual road signs was among suggestions put forward by members of the community. 20_c08_BilingualRoadSign