Controversial parking charges would be lifted in Brechin, Carnoustie and Kirriemuir under an alternative budget prepared by the county’s SNP group.
Group leader Lynne Devine, deputy Bill Duff and Monifieth councillor Beth Whiteside previewed parts of the opposition group’s alternative budget on Monday ahead of a full council meeting to agree local spending on Thursday.
Cllr Duff said they had moved to lance the “running sore” of parking charges in the county.
He said: “We’ve looked at what is doable. We’ve looked at what the council can afford and we’re recognising the fact we’ve spent £300,000 putting in equipment and we recognise that we can’t just junk the whole thing.
“So we looked at how much money has been taken in each town and really the parking system only really gives a decent return in Arbroath and Forfar.
“We looked at what we could sensibly do and our proposal is to remove charging in Brechin, Carnoustie and Kirriemuir.”
Two small car parks on the outskirts of Forfar would also see charges lifted, he added.
“That costs us £88,000 so we think that’s a fair position to be in because we know in the small towns it has really hit small businesses and cafes.”
Angus residents should brace themselves for an increase in council tax and further spending taken from the council’s financial reserves of around £8 million, he added.
“Whatever you do the budget has to be balanced by a council tax increase of some sort and a use of reserves.”
He said extra capital spending in the SNP plan would be found by pushing “a number of library upgrade projects” into the future.
Other SNP proposals include giving £138,000 more than administration for cultural and sporting body Angus Alive with £30,000 ringfenced for sport for low income groups
Cllr Devine said the group would also restore a recent cut of around £20,000 in funding to the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership.
Cllr Whiteside said the group also wanted to invest in town centres with a £2.5 million fund to refurbish empty retail properties.