Could Highland Council turn to bus shelters to make money?

Inverness Town House
Inverness Town House

A proposal to employ a commercial manager devoted to exploiting opportunities for making money was derailed by members of the resources committee today.

Councillors were concerned about a lack of information about the post’s salary or the amount of money that the successful applicant would be expected to bring in.

Some members raised fears that the post might cost more than it would generate.

Councillor Carolyn Wilson, leader of the Independent opposition group, said: “I do not think anybody is criticising the principle. It is about the fact that we do not have enough information.”

The committee agreed that officials should return when the post’s salary was agreed.

Highland Council’s income should be boosted by putting advertising at bus stops, on parking tickets and even buildings according to councillors.

Generating more money is one of the ways that the local authority hopes to plug a proportion of its budget gap in forthcoming years.

Members also suggested sponsorship of so-called “building wraps”, which are often put up during major restoration projects. This is currently being looked at because of the upcoming work on Inverness Town House.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, Inverness Ness-side, said that he wanted to see “innovative ideas”.

The council has already generated £90,000 in 2013/14 through advertising and is on course to raise £962,000 from renewable energy.

The latter comes from Renewable Heat Initiative, covering biomass installations and the Feed in Tariff, covering solar power.

However this amount is below the target for the council, although it is expected to increase as more biomass comes on line.

There are also plans for wind turbines at the former Longman landfill site and for methane gas to be used to generate electricity.