Aberdeenshire Council has outlined its ‘aspirations’ for the 2016/17 budget prior to the formal meeting in February.
Among the announcements was a ‘major engagement programme’ in which the local authority ‘calls on everyone with an interest in local services across Aberdeenshire to have their say on the council’s spending’.
In a change to the usual process. Co-Leader Cllr Richard Thomson gave a pre-budget speech, setting out the administration’s priorities and the proposals for ‘balancing the books’ as there is an anticipated £18m pressure on next year’s budget.
He said: “It is our ambition to deliver a programme of housing investment; working with Housing Associations, private developers, and leveraging new public sector funding to make a significant contribution to the provision of affordable housing in Aberdeenshire.
“We will deliver a comprehensive programme of regeneration - maximising the benefits of the City Region Deal, whilst also putting in place a strategy that supports investment in our towns and villages which may not have the same direct impact from the Deal.”
Addressing the anticipated £18m downfall, he suggested ways that the savings could be made.
He said that around half of that money could be found through a ‘range of measures’ including improved contract management of supplies and services, shared services with other local authorities and efficiencies in business support.
He rallied on people to contribute ideas: “We want to hear from everyone in Aberdeenshire as the decisions we take will affect all of us.
“This is your chance to make your views known.”