Moray sets £59.1m capital investment and £22.8m housing budget

Moray sets £59.1m capital investment and £22.8m housing budget

Moray Council has committed to a £59.1 million capital investment alongside its £260m revenue budget for the 2023/24 financial year, with £22.8m also approved for housing services.

Within the capital investment, £11.2m has been set aside for the learning estate with Forres Academy and Buckie High School awaiting Scottish Government funding announcements; £810,000 is to be spent on bridges; and £26.7m will contribute to economic development in Moray as well as continuing to hold £4m for progression of the Moray Growth Deal.

Following this year’s investment of £139,000 for libraries the ongoing leisure estate review will be completed. The roads network will benefit from £4.35m of spend on resurfacing, reconstructions, surface dressing, and drainage with an additional £300,000 for pothole repairs following the poor winter weather.

Open Spaces will continue to work with communities on the rolling programme to refurbish two play areas a year through participatory budgeting and sees £135,000 invested in such activity. Existing astro-turf pitches are allocated £300,000 for rejuvenation, while the Forres pitch is on hold until the future of the Academy is established.

Waste upgrades this year will see £350,000 works at Dallachy Landfill site at Spey Bay; £225,000 for Gollachy Recycling Centre in Buckie; £100,000 for new domestic and trade waste bins; £20,000 for replacement recycling centre containers; and £18,000 on more gull-proof bins.

Following the setting of the budget, Moray Council leader, Cllr Kathleen Robertson, said: “We’ve known for some time that balancing the budget this year would be impacted, not only on our own financial situation, but external and global factors such as the increase in construction costs, rate of inflation and more.

“The challenge has been to ensure Moray still has the level of investment needed to continue our recovery from the pandemic and develop our economy to meet our aspirations, while being financially prudent enough to operate within our means.

“Across our workforce, at all levels, we see staff continuing to deliver high levels of service and I thank them for their efforts in the face of budget pressures. Their commitment to public service is valued by the community and they will be supported as we look to the year ahead.

“There is no magic wand to help local authorities deal with the concerns we have over budgets. Which is why it’s ever more important that we work together as a council, and a community, to identify sustainable practices to shape the future of our region. I look forward to the community engagement exercises planned for the coming months, which will give residents their voice in that future.”

In housing, elected members have allocated almost £56m to new builds over the coming three years.

Continuation of work to ensure electrical standards are met and a £7.435m programme of energy efficiency and insulation work are included.

Chair of the Housing and Community Safety Committee, Councillor Amber Dunbar, added: “Despite increases to costs of delivery we’re mindful of the need to maintain affordability within our housing offer. To have a balanced budget while fulfilling our statutory requirements around energy efficiency, smoke alarm installations, and more is a considerable achievement and I add my thanks to the team for managing this.”

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