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Another year, another budget for the council, and as always there are winners and losers.
I have to congratulate all the officers of the council, particularly head of strategic finance Kirsty Flanagan and her team for being so helpful during this process and also thank the leader of the council in the manner the papers were presented this year, which made alternative motions possible.
What did this year yield?
The main differences in the budget came down to the administration of the council proposing £500,000 more for winter gritting (outwith the A83 which is covered by the contract with BEAR Scotland) versus cuts in the Road Safety Unit, an award-winning safety programme for young children; a cut in youth and adult learning, a cut in environmental warden services which means a focus on more fines but less time to address fly tipping and dog fouling; and a cut to music tuition in schools.
These were three separate amendments tabled by Councillor Donald Kelly and myself; the SNP group; and Councillor George Freeman and Councillor Jean Moffat.
While gritting our roads is important, Councillor Kelly and I along with other council opposition groups thought the latter considerations were important to our communities, which strangely enough is also supported by our corporate plan. Alas, the gritting won the day. Full motions and votes can be found on the council website.
What was more disappointing, however, was that Councillor Kelly and I had in our motion to change funding due for Helensburgh and Dunoon which was just over £1 million to be moved to the regeneration project of Tarbert/Lochgilphead/Ardrishaig.
This was defeated by the rest of the council, which was particularly galling as the money for Helensburgh had been questioned by the local community council who felt that too much had already been spent, while the money for Dunoon was because of poor procurement processes and a general ‘I want’ syndrome all to the detriment of this local area.
Local democracy at work, which should be communicated to our communities.
Councillor Douglas Philand, Argyll and Bute First: Time for Change
Note: When the budget motion and three amendments were put to the vote among councillors the result was: Administration motion, 21 votes; SNP group amendment, 10; Philand/Kelly amendment, 2; Freeman/Moffat amendment, 2.
Councillors Donald Kelly and Douglas Philand of Argyll First tabled an amendment at the recent budget meeting. 15_T13_Health-cuts_01_Donald-Kelly_Douglas-Philand