Confirmation of a near-maximum hike in council tax and reductions in the local authority’s workforce are yet further blows for Dundee.
The SNP administration used last night’s meeting to remind opposition councillors and those in attendance it is not all doom and gloom.
The city has had a year to celebrate after continuing to attract accolades as one of the world’s hottest visitor destinations and securing major events such as BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend.
While there have been positives, the spectre of austerity continues to loom and warnings of an emerging “two Dundees” – where the poorest become increasingly isolated from the city’s glistening waterfront – should be heeded seriously.
The overriding feeling as Dundee’s 29 councillors came together last night was that no one really wanted to impose further cuts on the city.
Speaking after the meeting, council leader John Alexander highlighted the reality facing local authorities.
“You could have picked any line within the budget and came up with a very robust argument as to why you shouldn’t touch that,” he said.
“The reality for politicians is we need to balance the budget.”
The same grim scene is being played out in city chambers across Scotland.
Council officers in Dundee were singled out for particular praise for continuing to help produce workable budgets against increasingly untenable economic conditions.
Meanwhile, trade unionists made impassioned pleas for elected members of all parties and none to come together and “defy rather than comply” with cuts passed on by Holyrood and Westminster.
Councillors were unable to reach an accord on whether their ire would be best directed towards Edinburgh or London but most – if not all – were in agreement cuts have moved well beyond “easy savings” and are now gouging deep into essential public services.
John Alexander has predicted Dundee is facing another decade of austerity with a near-£80 million budget shortfall to account for.
Looking through this year’s effort, it is hard to imagine what is left to cut.