Highland Council has launched the 1st step in automated telephone payments for customers. From 22/02/2017 customers will be able to contact the Service Centre on the payments line 01349 886605 to make a rent payment and get a rent balance.
In another challenging financial year, the Highland Council Administration has pledged to protect education services in the 2017/18 budget. The Highland Council will consider next year's budget at its meeting on Thursday 16 February.
The Council's budget gap for 2017/18, the difference between required expenditure and income, is £20.344m. Budget proposals include increasing the rates of Council Tax by the maximum allowed 3%.
From 1 April 2017, all non-domestic properties will be revalued by the Assessor, with rateable values recalculated. This will impact on the level of Non-Domestic rates paid by businesses.
Highland Council has published its Community Asset Transfer (CAT) process to help guide communities that wish to request community asset transfers of publicly owned buildings or land. The Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015 gives community bodies the right to make requests for ownership, lease, management or use of public owned buildings or land whether or not they are available for sale or are deemed surplus to requirements by the owning body.
Budget Leader Cllr Bill Fernie welcomed the news that as a result of the budget deal agreed by Scottish Government, there will be a reduced cut to local authorities: "The deal effectively reduces our budget gap from £26 million to £20 million. This has meant that we have been able to reconsider some of the severe cuts to services and third sector groups which were necessary before.
The Administration of The Highland Council is hoping to balance the council's budget with far fewer job losses and cuts to services than previously feared. Following considerable analysis of potential savings and consultation with staff and opposition groups, the Administration have developed a package of proposals to take to the Council meeting on 16 February for approval.
Motorists are being advised that pay and display parking at Highland Council's headquarters car park comes into force on Monday 13 February. The pay and display scheme is part of the Council's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement across the Highlands.
A recommendation to discontinue education provision at the currently mothballed Kinbrace Primary School will be presented to the meeting of The Highland Council on 9 March 2017 for Members' consideration. Members of the Council's Education, Children's and Adult Services Committee have agreed to recommend to the Council that the Authority discontinues education provision at Kinbrace and re-assign its catchment area to Helmsdale Primary school with a small area around Forsinard being reassigned to Melvich Primary.
The Highland Council welcomes the confirmation from the Scottish Government that the Council's decision to close Achfary Primary School has not been called in by Ministers. The school has been mothballed since the end of session 2011/12, with pupils attending either Scourie or Kinlochbervie Primary Schools.
Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent) has welcomed the outcome of the vote yesterday, 17th January, in the Scottish Parliament, on the motion to reverse the decision to scrap the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Cllr Davidson said: "This vote sends a strong message to the Scottish Government about their incessant centralising agenda and we would now urge Ministers to reconsider their entire approach.
From 1 April 2017 the Scottish Government is changing the basis on which properties are assessed for Council Tax and this will increase the charge for Council Tax properties that are banded E to H. The Highland Council has no discretion in this matter and must apply these increases to the Council Tax charges from 1 April 2017.
Highland Council is introducing pay and display parking at its headquarters car park as part of its Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Schemes. Cllr Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council's Community Services Committee said: "This change has come from a savings proposal agreed by Council in the December 2014 budget for implementation in 2015/16 to save £20,000 per year.
The Highland Council's Community Services Committee has confirmed that the local authority if ready for winter with respect to its gritting service of council roads. Members have been assured that the council has adequate salt stocks for the region which were replenished in September and October; that the authority will have around 60,000 tonnes in stock for the start of the main winter season and that there are no concerns about future provision of deliveries from the council's supplier.
The Highland Council is reminding everyone that the opportunity to have a say on the modified version of the Proposed Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (CaSPlan) is coming to an end, with the consultation closing at midday on Friday 11 November 2016. The Council is urging anyone with an interest in Caithness and Sutherland to have their say on the Modified Plan, which focusses on where development should and should not occur in the Caithness and Sutherland area over the next twenty years.
The way fisheries quotas are allocated will remain unchanged once the devolution of new fisheries powers is confirmed, Rural Economy Fergus Ewing has announced. Speaking at the Scottish Fishermen's Federation Dinner, Mr Ewing confirmed his intention to provide the industry with stability by maintaining existing allocations through the Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) system.
Certainty for over £700m of farming, fishing and structural funds projects. EU funding contracts for structural funds, fisheries and farming projects that are agreed before the UK proposes to leave the EU will be paid in full, the Scottish Government has announced.
Agreement with profession on future role of GPs. A joint agreement on the future direction of GP services has been signed by the Scottish Government and doctors' union the British Medical Association (BMA) The agreement, sent to all GPs this morning, sets out a shared vision for how primary care services can be improved, and the role GPs have to play.
More than £100 million in criminal assets seized. Significant progress has been made tackling serious organised crime in Scotland as public, private and voluntary sector partners work together to deal with emerging threats from cyber crime, human trafficking and fraud.
More people across the country will be able to keep themselves and their families warm this winter as a result of £10 million funding announced today. Housing associations and councils will be given a share of £9 million funding to help improve the housing of some of the poorest households and those most in need.