Orkney residents will have to fork out almost 5% more on Council Tax, it has been confirmed.
The levy will rise by the maximum of 4.79% – raising the band D charge by £53 a year – while service fees and charges will increase by 3% in a bid to make budget savings.
Exceptions will include Orkney Ferries fares, fees for planning applications and building warrants, licensing, trade waste collections, and social care charges that are set by legislation.
New charges will introduced for electric vehicle charging, replacement refuse bins, collecting and kennelling stray dogs, planning permission amendments, and caravans, motor homes and tents using car parks and other council land.
Councillors also agreed there should be above-average increases in charges for longer-than-permitted stays at car parks and special collections and disposal of bulky household waste (but not in the North and South Isles).
Orkney Island Council’s (OIC) policy and resources committee agreed that £83.9 million should be spent on running council services in 2019-2020, with a savings target of £350,000.
This is considerably less than the average savings of £1.6m made each year by the council between 2011 and 2019.
As a result, the authority will be drawing £6.1m from its own reserves.
The committee heard that the target for 2019-2020 can be achieved without the need to reduce the council’s workforce.
James Stockan, council leader, said: “Our aim is to set a one-off budget for uncertain times and avoid making the year ahead even more challenging for the council and the community we serve.
“Savings are needed, but we have sought to minimise cuts to services by increasing our income – by introducing new charges for example.”
He added: “We will also need to draw down £6.1m from the council’s reserves. This is considerably higher than the usual contribution and would be unsustainable if it was to continue year after year.”