Councillors consider final revenue budget report for 2012/13

Councillors have considered the latest monitoring report on the council’s budget up to the end of January 2013.

The Policy & Resources Committee considered the report, which forecasts end of year spending to be within budget by just over £5 million, which accounts for less than 1% of the council’s £537 million budget.

The improved budget position is as a result of services identifying the need to target spending in new ways.

Councillors approved a number of budget virements at the committee meeting, which will see funds transferred into essential projects including:

·Upgrades to halls, swimming pools, gyms and libraries

·Work for early years sports provision

·ICT software

This means that the amount the council is expected to be within budget has decreased by around £2 million since December 2012.

This has been achieved using a variety of financial and procedural tools, including end year flexibility, reserve strategy, virements and the Invest to Save fund, according to a report from Head of Finance, Alan Wood.

The council continues to use the approach adopted in 2012, of managing resources from a service delivery point of view, and reducing the focus on being purely on the financial year.

Councillors also approved a number of new earmarked reserves, including one for Welfare Reform.

The council will not receive funding through the Bellwin Scheme, a Scottish Government project offering financial assistance to local authorities affected by large-scale emergencies, including severe weather and flooding.

Mr Wood told the committee that the council has not reached the required £1 million revenue expenditure limit required to trigger the Bellwin Scheme.

He said: “We have gone back to the Scottish Government last week and asked for a discussion on the timetable for completing emergency works. They are going to consider that. The word “emergency” is the important word here.

“Any essential works that have to be done in Aberdeenshire will be done.

“The financial aspect of that is that the council may have to pick up the full bill for works done. That will not have any impact on the works being done.”

Though the council has had to make substantial repairs after severe flooding across Aberdeenshire in December 2012, the costs do not meet the expenditure threshold required by the scheme.

Severe weather over the winter months means the council’s forecasted expenditure is £2.3 million higher than the Winter Maintenance and Other Emergencies budget for 2012/13.

The forecasted expenditure of £8 million compares with £5 million spend in 2011/12 and £8.5 million in 2010/11.