Residents in Angus are facing a 2.95% rise in their council tax bills next year after councillors approved their budget.
Members voted to impose the hike for 2022/23 during a heated meeting on Thursday.
It means a rise of £35.60 a year for those in band D properties from April.
The SNP group on the council had proposed a rise of 3%, but this was opposed by 17 votes to 10 by the independent/Conservative/Lib Dem administration.
Councillor Mark Salmond, the finance convener, insists locals are still paying low rates compared with other areas.
‘Good news in Angus’ – finance convener
He said: “The good news in Angus is that, due to the prudent management of our budget in recent years, citizens will continue to enjoy for 2022/23 one of the lowest council taxes rates in Scotland.
“We must always remember that Angus council taxpayers are paying less than all their neighbours in Dundee, Aberdeenshire and Perth and Kinross, and last year paid the second-lowest council tax in mainland Scotland.
“Our ambition is to remain as the second-lowest in mainland Scotland.”
The move comes despite drastic warnings from the council’s own head of finance of “large rises” in council tax in the years ahead if the situation does not improve.
Mr Salmond added: “I accept that nobody likes to pay more for services, but it is to ensure this council has the ability to deliver the vital services we all use daily.”
Angus Council reveals where money will be spent
The budget includes a promise of £11 million for roads maintenance in the country as the council bids to tackle potholes.
Mr Salmond said: “Angus roads and pavement users have made it loud and clear they wish this council to invest more in maintenance – namely potholes.
“This came out of the budget consultation and the petition submitted to this council. This administration is committed to [having] improved roads.
“In Angus, we have 1,130 miles of roads linking our coastline to our glens. This network, which links our communities, is essential for everyday life for our businesses and for our residents.”
Meanwhile £50m is being set aside to build a new secondary school in Monifieth – described as “Angus Council’s largest-ever capital investment”.
Mr Salmond also announced that £530,000 is being set aside for three community projects:
- New themed playparks in Forfar, Letham and Brechin – similar to the Neverland playpark in Kirriemuir.
- Frontline social work provision for children with disabilities.
- The council’s own ‘accessible to all’ toilets scheme.
£176m capital plan
Councillors have also approved a capital plan worth £176m for the next five years.
New spending includes:
- £300,000 upgrades to secondary school toilets in Arbroath, Montrose and Kirriemuir.
- £250,000 for schools’ information and communication equipment.
- £200,000 for cyber security zero trust architecture.
- £120,000 for IT network infrastructure renewal programme.
- £300,000 for parks infrastructure repairs and renewals.
- £1.191m for the Arbroath – A Place for Everyone project.
Councillors have also voted to keep off-street car parking free for another year, along with public toilets.
Mr Salmond added: “As we recover from Covid-19 we must do all we can to help our economy recover with the beneficial effect this will have on jobs and living standards.
“Therefore, we intend to keep car parking free until at least the spring of 2023. We shall fund this out of reserves.
“The Angus high streets are still in Covid recovery mode and we are committed to free parking in Angus.”