Council tax raised by 6% as cuts agreed

​Councillors agreed to a range of cuts, including the closure of two recycling centres and several bus routes.​Councillors agreed to a range of cuts, including the closure of two recycling centres and several bus routes.
​Councillors agreed to a range of cuts, including the closure of two recycling centres and several bus routes.
Angus Council voted to raise council tax by 6% and agreed to a range of cuts including the closure of recycling centres at Monifieth and Kirriemuir at its budget-setting meeting on Thursday.

The council tax rise means residents in band D properties will pay £74.54 more each year, from £1,242.14 to £1,316.68.

The higher price will be introduced on April 1.

The Conservative opposition group described the recycling centre closures as throwing Monifieth and Kirriemuir “under the bus” and claimed their alternative budget would have kept all seven recycling centres open.

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Independent councillor Tommy Stewart, said the decision meant a move towards creating “a two tier Angus.”

A Labour amendment delayed any rise in school meals until 2024/2025.

Bus routes were also a focus with subsidies for three services from the Sidlaw area into Dundee withdrawn.

A pause on parking charges will continue for another year and council officers will carry out an impact assessment on these to local businesses .

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But despite disagreement and party divisions, there was overall consensus that the bleak economic outlook offered little room for manoeuvre.

Summing-up before the budget vote, SNP councillor for Montrose and District and council finance convener Bill Duff said: “To be absolutely frank, the opposition budget is 98% similar to the administration budget in all reality.”

On Monday, the local authority announced that, since November, its funding gap for the next three years has widened from £52m to £60m.

On the decision to close the recycling centres, Mr Duff said: “We cannot afford to maintain all seven recycling centres in Angus.

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“We also recognise the agreement we have reached with Dundee City Council for residents in the Monifieth and Sidlaw ward to use recycling centres in Dundee.

“We are therefore proposing a network of five recycling centres that still provide good access to recycling.”

On the end of the Sidlaw bus route subsidies he said: “This measure will save £137K and we will re-invest £37K to replace these routes with a pilot Demand Responsive Transport scheme that involves using smaller vehicles, advanced bookings and fewer overall journeys that is better financially and for the environment.”

An amendment by the single Labour member, Councillor Heather Doran for Monifieth and Sidlaw proposed, among other adjustments, deferring rises in meals at primary and secondary schools until 2024/2025. This was agreed by a vote against the budget motion at the end of the session.

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Referring to previous warnings on the council’s economic future made by finance chief, Ian Lorimer, Conservative group leader, Derek Wann said: “Surely Mr Ian Lorimer is not far from calling the council into special measures.

“Already, I believe that the budget cannot be financially competent.”