Council agree budget cuts in ‘difficult times’

over £10 million pounds will spent on roads in South Ayrshire as the local authority approved it’s budget for 2011/12 last week.

Also, £600,000 will be spent towards a new-build Kirkmichael Primary School, the previously agreed £200,000 towards the regeneration of South Carrick, £100,000 to replace an improve lighting in Maybole and £50,000 to create pontoons and safety features around Girvan Harbour.

Council tax level will remain at the same level for the fourth year running, as the council tackle predicted funding drops from the Scottish Government over the coming years.

However, it was the roads in South Ayrshire that were the big winner with an extra £1.5million promised after another tough winter.

Communities throughout South Ayrshire raised concerns about the condition of the roads after the cold winter has littered them potholes.

Council Leader, Bill McIntosh, was pleased to announce the extra spend on the roads.

He said: “While we have to balance cuts in funding against increased demand in services, we are listening to what people of South Ayrshire are telling us and working better and smarter with a real focus on customer service, service delivery and best value.

“That’s why we have approved the Council’s biggest ever investment in our roads infrastructure.

“We have focused on efficiencies to generate the savings we require and have worked to get as much as possible out of every penny and every pound - that is exactly what our budget achieves.”

Other priorities approved by the elected members were an additional £1.079 million to improve the care provided to older people and disabled adults, which included £341,000 to deliver care packages for older people; £162,044 to provide residential care for physically disabled and learning disabled adults; and £118,400 for in-house homecare.

Portfolio Holder for Resource and Performance, Cllr Robin Reid, backed the view of Mr McIntosh.

He added: “The programme we have approved is very much about delivering for the futureand we are certainly doing that in more ways than one with a significant focus on investment in education - both the actual bricks and mortar as well as the infastructure needed within schools to help deliver Curriculum for Excellence and ensure our pupils enjoy the best possible opportunities.

“This is testament to our commitment to doing the best we can with the resources available and our capital programme will deliver much improved facilities and positive outcomes for communities from one end of South Ayrshire to the other.”

It was also agreed by the Council to retain uncommitted general reserves of around £11 million.

Labour Group Leader John McDowall believes the people of South Ayrshire have a right to know there is plans for an additional £2 million borrowing included in the budget.

“He said: “The Tory/SNP administration approved it’s budget last week. Included within this is £2,000,000 of additional borrowing at a time when the Council will have an anticipated cash reserve of over £12 million by the end of March this year.

“The people of South Ayrshire are entitled to ask why it is that the Tory/SNP administration and why it is that services have been reduced, schools and community facilities have closed, and our roads have continued to deteriorate when the council has over £12m in the bank.”

Also included in the bidget was a promised £100,000 to improve the public toilets in Ballantrae, Dunure, Maidens and Maybole.

Councillor McIntosh added: “We are moving forward in an ever-tightening economic environment. However, thanks to strong leadership, collaborative governance, South Ayrshire Council is now in a much stronger and healthier place and match fit for the challenges that lie ahead.”