A reformed budget setting process for Aberdeenshire Council was formally agreed at last Thursday’s full council meeting. The new approach to deciding the authority’s annual revenue budget was first proposed last year by Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) councillors Martin Ford and Paul Johnston, who wrote to the Council’s other political groups in March 2015.
“We want to see draft budget proposals coming forward from the various political groups in the autumn so there can be proper public consultation and cross-party dialogue and negotiation before the budget is set in February,” said Cllr Martin Ford.
“This allows for much more scope for public input into budget decisions and creates opportunities for cross-party agreement and sharing of ideas.”
During the 11 February full council meeting, the DIGG plan attracted cross-party support and was praised by Council co-leader Cllr Richard Thomson. The officers’ report on Aberdeenshire’s 2016/17 revenue budget recommended that budget proposals for 2017/18 are initially reported to the full council next autumn, in line with the process put forward by the DIGG.
In his speech to the 11 February meeting, proposing the 2016/17 revenue budget, Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes said:
“Linked to the importance of a budget consultation exercise is the early discussion on future years’ budget proposals. Therefore I propose that all groups prepare draft budget proposals and report these to Council in autumn.”
Said Cllr Paul Johnston:
“I welcome the cross-party agreement on this important reform. Ultimately, we believe this new budget process will lead to better budgets and more say for Aberdeenshire residents on these key decisions.”
In acordance with their own proposed budget process, the DIGG presented detailed draft proposals for Aberdeenshire’s 2016/17 revenue budget to the November 2015 Aberdeenshire full council meeting.
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