Moray Council group leaders will hold a summit today to discuss what can be done to overcome the region’s massive financial difficulties.
This has come after an Audit Scotland report recommended that members should consider creating a cross-party group to discuss and agree budget priorities.
It also highlighted the risk that if members were “unable to agree and implement a sustainable model for service delivery” then the council’s cash reserves would run out and they would be plunged into bankruptcy.
Up to £14 million needs to be saved in the next two years or the council faces financial ruin.
Now council leader Graham Leadbitter has announced that a possible cross-party group will be talked about at a leaders meeting today.
He said: “In this meeting we will have an open discussion about how best to approach the budget. We aim to make this process easier and give groups the chance to come up with their own proposals.
“We want to get a feel for how the various group leaders feel about doing this and see if everybody wants to participate or not.”
Moray Council has already cut back to make some savings, including £6.5m worth of costs cut in February when the local authority offloaded public toilets and town halls onto community groups and reduced bin collections.
But the council still needs to do more to become financially stable.
The meeting will include Tim Eagle, Conservative group leader, John Divers, leader of the Moray Alliance Group and James Allan representing the Councillors Open Group (COG).
Independent councillor George Alexander, leader of the COG consisting of four other independents and a conservative, supports the idea of this meeting.
He said: “I’m definitely in favour of this idea and personally it would be great if all 26 councillors were around a table but that would be a bit cumbersome.
“It’s the responsibility of all the councillors to sort out this problem, so we’ll see what these discussions will bring in.”
The Audit Scotland report also highlighted the lack of medium and long-term financial planning undertaken by the council, although the leadership upheaval over the past two years was cited as a reason for this.
A minority SNP administration took over the reigns in June, replacing the Conservative and Independent coalition that collapsed when all-but-one of the Tories walked out.