Income generation to offset savings is a stated aim of Highland Council’s new budget strategy, with more than £2m earmarked to come from community services.
Councillors agreed that a 3% increase should be applied each year for the next three years to cremation fees, burial fees, commercial refuse collection, bulky uplifts, fish export certificates and the sale of lairs and foundations.
Harbour dues will go up by 4% each year, and ferry dues by 3%.
The councillors also agreed to put up fares on the Corran ferry by 3% a year sparking anger from Lochaber councillor Andrew Baxter, whose protests fell on deaf ears.
He said: “The Administration forced through their 3% increase on all fares on the Corran Ferry. They weren’t prepared ahead of the meeting to listen to a range of other options, including the idea of charging £1 for foot passengers on the ferry.
“There is local support for a flat charge for foot passengers, and that was my amendment today but they weren’t prepared to accept that, I don’t know why.
“I’ve campaigned on this consistently during the life of this council, as have members of the community, officers from this council have gone out to meet them and all these suggestions have come up, they’ve been raised by me and other Lochaber councillors time and time again and we get no further forward.
“The simple answer is, we need to raise additional income so let’s just stick 3% on the Corran Ferry and not look at how that impacts on certain groups of passengers or how we can do it differently.
“The fare’s going up to £8.50 from £8.20 for a single ticket. I’ve sat there during a busy period in the summer and watched visitors come down the slipway, see the price, turn round and head off.”
Mr Baxter said feelings are running high in affected local communities.
He said: “It would not surprise me if there were demonstrations at the ferry and I hear some communities over there talking about a legal challenge to the council in terms of equality assessment.”