Highland Council has released more information about how it plans to close the £20.5 m gap in its funding for 2020/21.
Raising council tax by the maximum 4.84% will contribute £4.4m, with the remaining amount to be found in savings, created around four key themes: efficiency, income generation, redesign and improvement and a flexible workforce.
The council says it will continue its drive to reduce management layers and deploy the workforce in a more efficient way.
In a report to councillors outlining the proposals, the local authority admits the Audit Commission’s recent report on its performance shows that ‘the status quo is not an option’.
Any surplus funds generated will be poured into boosting the council’s dangerously low reserves by an estimated £2m, the report says.
Meanwhile, opposition councillors say they are furious not to be more involved in the budgeting process.
Tory group leader councillor Andrew Jarvie said: “Despite emails, calls and face to face requests throughout the budget process, the Administration have shamefully and inexcusably frozen out opposition parties from the whole budget process.”
SNP group joint leader councillor Ian Cockburn said: “Our budget discussions have only really taken place in the last few days which has not given us any time to put up alternatives.”
The full council will meet on Thursday to discuss its budget proposals.