The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

South Ayrshire Council holds Council Tax, spends more on services

SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL has agreed to spend more on its services in the coming year than last year, and has confirmed there will be no increase in its Council Tax during 2009/10.

The Council set its budget for the next twelve months at £266.4 million, which is £8.5 million more than last year. Services which will benefit include education, social work and housing and the future economic development of Ayr and Girvan town centres.

Council Leader Councillor Hugh Hunter (pictured above) said: “The Council has overwhelmingly agreed our spending programme for next year. We are pleased, particularly in these difficult times, that we will be able to spend more than last year on our front line services.

“We have been able to achieve this after a very thorough review of our spending plans for all our Council services and in the light of the unsustainable financial position which we have inherited. We have had to take difficult decisions but the result is that more money than last year will be spent on our core services, the aim of which is to bring benefits to all residents of South Ayrshire.

“We are positively continuing to examine the options for the future of the Gaiety Theatre. We also regret the closure of Pet’s Corner and admire the efforts of local people with this project. We will also review the future use of Dalmilling Golf Course and ensure that this is done with full public consultation.”

Some of the highlights in this year’s budget spending plans include:

* The completion of three more new schools at Belmont Academy, Prestwick Academy and Barassie Primary.
* Maintaining class teacher numbers across South Ayrshire.
* Extending free schools meals to more primary and secondary pupils.
* A priority-led programme for future improvements to many of its schools.
* New Council contact centres established as pilot projects to create “one stop shops” for Council services including housing and social work advice and payments.
* A review of services to provide more services for people who require care and support and their carers. This will include a review of children’s services to ensure that more young people receive the care and protection they need.
* The extension of the Bookstart programme to more primary school children.
* Plans to provide better access to a range of Council services through better use of information technology for on-line payment and booking services.
* The introduction of up to date IT services to allow for more efficient handling of planning applications and building warrants.
* Continue work towards meeting its 50% recycling target by 2013 and its work on energy saving schemes for Maybole and Barrhill.
* The extension of the energy audit project which last year saw every home in Girvan being assessed for its energy efficiency.
* Improved cycling and walking routes.
* Continue efforts to take forward the Pathfinder project in Maybole.

In addition, the Council is planning a major review of the use of all its own properties as part of its bid to provide more integrated services in local towns and villages.

The Council plans to continue its programme of modernisation and organisational change during the year. Lead by new chief executive David Anderson (pictured above) the programme seeks to improve the way it delivers all its services and all employees across the Council are all involved in this work.

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