Dundee City Council is facing another decade of austerity with a projected £78.1 million budget shortfall over the next 10 years.
The local authority expects it will have to find savings and efficiencies equal to a fifth of that total – £17.3 million – in its budget next year alone.
It comes after £9 million of savings had to be made this year, which required it to cut the devolved schools management budget and the funding given to third-party organisations.
It has also had to sell its Dundee House headquarters to insurance giant Canada Life in a £23.8 million deal that will see it lease back the offices for the next 40 years.
Now a report to go before the policy and resources committee next week is warning worse is yet to come.
It states: “Based on current projections of budgetary requirements and available grant funding, it is estimated that savings and efficiencies totalling £78.1m may be required over the next 10 financial years in order to achieve a balanced budget.
“This includes a savings and efficiencies requirement estimated at £17.3m which assumes a flat cash settlement for the next financial year, 2020/21.”
The report warns the block grant awarded to the Scottish Government may be reduced if UK tax revenues fall, and says the final terms of Brexit may also have a detrimental impact on the economy and the money available to councils.
Council leader John Alexander said: “Unfortunately, it will come as no surprise to the public that councils are facing very serious, difficult and unenviable challenges.
“This is a sobering reminder of what comes from a decade of austerity, started under the Lib Dem and Conservative coalition.”
The SNP councillor said the precarious financial situation meant difficult, and unpopular decisions are now unavoidable.
He said: “We’ve managed to balance the books every year and whilst we’ve had to make some difficult decisions, we’ve also continued to invest in new schools, community centres, sports facilities, play parks and housing.
“Every decision we make should be seen in the context of the significant savings required. The decision to close Camperdown Golf Course and focus golf in Caird Park is manifestly sensible against that backdrop.”
Mr Alexander said the public deserved “an honest picture” of the challenges faced by the council over the coming years.
He said: “I will continue to make the case for more funding for Dundee, as I have done since day one but we also have to be realistic. Brexit is on the horizon and the potential negative economic impact has the potential to make this situation even worse.
“I’m focused on Dundee, on delivering the range of services that people expect and want, but I think it’s right that the public get an honest picture, we can’t continue to do everything that we do currently and it’s not always a choice but a necessity.
“The reality is the choice for politicians and the public is summarised by ‘would we rather fund a library or subsidise a golf course?’”