The cost of parking and school meals could rise as cash-strapped Perth and Kinross Council attempts to make nearly £17 million worth of savings.
The local authority has unveiled its “prudent and cautious” spending plan for the next 12 months.
Bosses will dig into reserves and use Scottish Government funding to help plug a budget blackhole, which has been largely created by their ongoing emergency response to the pandemic.
Papers show that they now need to make savings of more than £60 million over the next six years.
The council could achieve its savings while avoiding job losses or swingeing funding cuts, however officers have recommended a price increase for school dinners and parking.
It is further proposed that a plan to axe secondary school teachers which was approved last year will be halted, sparing around 11 jobs.
Last week, councillors agreed to freeze council tax after the Scottish Government offered the equivalent of a three per cent council tax rise in its draft budget with the proviso council tax was frozen in the forthcoming financial year.
In a plan to be considered by councillors next week, officers propose raising parking charges across the region by around 10%.
For example, an hour’s on-street parking in Perth city centre will rise from £1.30 to £1.40, while up to 10 hours at the Canal Street multi-storey will cost £11.80, compared to £10.70.
Schools meals could rise from £2.15 to £2.25 for primary pupils, and £2.30 to £2.40 for secondary. The cost of breakfast clubs (£2) will stay the same, it is proposed.
Officers also propose a review of services which support adult learners to develop literary skills needed for employment, with a saving of £20,000. Perth and Kinross Council said despite this cutback, the review will help refocus on priority target groups.
Annual permits for brown gardens are also expected to increase from £35 to £40.
‘We remain in a positive position’
Councillors will get the chance to discuss the proposals at budget talks on Wednesday. Each political group is expected to put forward their own spending plans.
Interim chief executive Barbara Renton said: “The past 12 months have been the most challenging this council has faced because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Like every other local authority, we have had to respond quickly to an ever-changing set of circumstances and officers are recommending a prudent and cautious approach to setting the revenue budget, because of the unknown and enduring impact of the virus.
“Unfortunately, loss of income and rising costs means we are proposing to increase fees and charges in some areas, although we have kept these as low as is possible.
“Nevertheless, we remain in a positive position – there will be no rise in council tax this year, and the budget will place us in the best position to provide the essential services our communities rely on over the next 12 months and plan for the future.”