Public gives SBC budget saving ideas

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Borders residents have been offering Scottish Borders Council their ideas on how the local authority can save money.

Ahead of setting the budget the council told people across the region: “We are living in a difficult economic climate and on top of that more demands are being placed on the Council than ever before.

“As a result of this, we need your help to shape the future of Scottish Borders Council.

A request for money saving ideas resulted in a range of interesting thoughts, the top five being: cancel the tapestry project; solar panels on council buildings; cancel spending on the 3G pitch at Peebles; clear out all drains in the late autumn; turn off streetlights either after midnight or between 2-6am; and stop salting roads.

These and a range of other ideas will be considered as part of the council’s budget-setting process, although whether any are introduced remains to be seen. Among the more unusual ideas was a water park at Tweedbank which was considered by the contributor as “a good investment”.

The Scottish Government budget announcement was made just before Christmas, SBC estimating that their reduction in Government funding for 2016-17 will be £6.8 million (a 3.3 per cent cut).

Councillor John Mitchell, depute leader with responsibility for finance said: “This is a very difficult settlement for local government and Scottish Borders Council is working hard to ensure we continue to prioritise frontline services to the people of the Borders with reduced resources.

“Councillors will have to take a number of very difficult decisions in setting the Council’s budget for 2016/17, in line with SBC’s priorities for the region.”