Highland Council is to consider budget cuts at Inverness Town House in a bid to save £370,000 – but it could also reduce cash in the city’s common good fund.
The authority’s redesign board will meet on Monday to review potential savings that will add to the overall target £1m of revenue savings.
It is part of the council’s asset management plan to redesign and reduce its office footprint while reducing its carbon emissions.
Highland Council aims to become a carbon-neutral organisation by 2040, and this could help towards that goal, subject to full council approval in December.
What savings are being proposed at Inverness Town House?
From April next year, it has been proposed to stop payments to the Inverness Common Good Fund for use of the Town House.
However, this will reduce the money available to the Common Good Fund for projects that help the community such as redevelopment of Whin Park.
Other projects includes events such as Night at the Bootanics in October and helping pop-up shops in the newly refurbished Victorian Market.
Currently, the council pays £233,500 into the fund every year to use the building and car park.
It has also been proposed to transfer maintenance and cleaning costs to the common good fund as well as utility bills, with the expectation they will eventually be taken on by replacement tenants.
New approach to be taken to save council money
Board chairman Bill Lobban said “prudent financial decisions” needto be taken to meet ambitious net-zero targets.
At present, the Town House accommodates over 100 council staff, who are due to move to more suitable office space at Highland Council’s headquarters.
However, the importance of the Town House regarding civic functions, which it hosts up to 300 a year of, will not be diminished.
Provost of Inverness Glynis Sinclair said: “Inverness Town House has recently undergone a £7.4 million renovation which has brought it back to its former glory.
“The investment helped to secure the heritage of the Town House for generations to come.
“This beautifully restored building offers new opportunities for the Common Good Fund to maximise its cultural importance in the heart of the city of Inverness in the form of tours, weddings and other events, which means the public and tourists can enjoy this remarkable historic building.”