A budget consultation has been launched by Argyll and Bute Council as it looks to save £9.2million by cutting jobs and transferring ferry services to the Scottish Government.
Members of the public will be asked for their views on the authority’s latest campaign to bridge the estimated funding gap for next financial year.
The consultation launched yesterday highlights work officers have been doing on the potential transfer of four council-run ferries to Transport Scotland – a move which would release £1m a year.
Other cuts on the table include proposals to slash 58.5 full time equivalent posts.
A saving of £198,500 would see the removal of pupil support assistant hours in primary schools with the loss of nearly 15 jobs.
Up to 25 public conveniences could close while burial charges could go up by as much as 20% and cremation fees 15%.
The removal of seven school crossing patrollers at 21 crossing points operated by the council is another option being put forward, as is the reduction of the education management team.
The public will be asked if they support transferring council-run ferries to Transport Scotland to protect them from cuts.
The ferry services under consideration for transfer are Easdale/Seil, Lismore/Port Appin, Luing/Seil and Jura/Islay.
Council Leader, Councillor Aileen Morton, said: “We’ve been doing a lot of work to raise awareness of Argyll and Bute’s opportunities and challenges among those who could support its future.
“Argyll and Bute needs its council to provide more services than many other councils, for example ferry services. Argyll and Bute though has had a bigger cut to its council funding over recent years than most other areas in Scotland.
“We’ve been promoting Argyll and Bute’s cause therefore in different ways, to try to secure more support for its council services. We want Argyll and Bute to thrive.”
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, depute leader, said: “It’s simple – the more funding the council has, the more we can do for local people. Transport Scotland delivers ferry services for other islands – it’s been running Western Isles’ ferries for a number of years, and has provided more than £20m for ferries in Orkney and Shetland.
“We obviously need to look at Transport Scotland’s role in supporting Argyll and Bute, the area with the highest number of inhabited islands of all of Scotland’s councils.”
The consultation will run from October 28 until December 16. It will be available on the council’s website and by telephoning 01546 604171.