Orkney Islands Council’s Policy and Resources Committee have made recommendations to go to the full council on the budget for the year ahead.
£83.9 million to be spent on running Council services in 2019-2020.
Savings target of £350,000
Council Tax charges should rise by 4.79%, which would increase the Band D annual charge from £1100 to £1153.
Existing fees and charges for Council services should increase by at least 3% from 1 April. Exceptions would include Orkney Ferries fares, fees for planning applications and building warrants, licensing, trade waste collections, and social care charges that are set by legislation.
New charges should be introduced for:
- electric vehicle charging
- replacement refuse bins
- collecting and kennelling stray dogs
- planning permission amendments
- caravans, motorhomes and tents using carparks and other Council land.
Above-average increases in charges for:
- longer-than-permitted stays at car parks
- special collections and disposal of bulky household waste (but not in the North and South Isles)
- road closures for road works.
Council Tax Recommendations
The Council Tax increase from April 1 would bring in an additional £415,800 in revenue for OIC. An increase in the number of Band D properties will result in an additional income of £142,200, with a surcharge on empty properties expected to raise £67,700 over the year ahead.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council said:
“We face unique and difficult circumstances in setting a budget for the year ahead and our deliberations today and over the past six months reflect this.
“Uncertainty surrounds the Brexit process, but it seems certain there will be an impact on our community whatever the outcome. On top of that, uncertainty remains over how much support we will receive from the Scottish Government to run our inter-island ferries – as we continue to argue for fair funding covering the full costs of this lifeline service.
“Our aim is to set a one-off budget for uncertain times and avoid making the year ahead even more challenging for the Council and the community we serve. Savings are needed, but we have sought to minimise cuts to services by increasing our income – by introducing new charges for example.
“We will also need to draw down £6.1 million from the Council’s reserves. This is considerably higher than the usual contribution and would be unsustainable if it was to continue year after year.
“Through our Community Conversations we know that protecting services by increasing or bringing in new charges is a measure the public supports. There is public recognition too of the need to preserve the Council’s reserves, for the good of our community now and in the longer term – and for Council investment in measures that support and strengthen Orkney’s economy.
“Our intention in setting this one-off budget is to lessen the impact there might have been on the community, the organisation and our staff. But unless there’s a just outcome and we receive full and fair ferries funding, we may need to consider exceptional measures both in setting our budget and over the year ahead.”