Thousands of residents across Perth and Kinross face higher council tax bills after a decade-long freeze came to an end, but education will benefit from the new budget.
Council leader Ian Miller told councillors the rise was “inevitable” if they were to avoid compulsory redundancies and continue to maintain services.
A SNP motion to increase the tax locally by 2% was carried yesterday despite a bid by Conservative councillors to block the rise. They claimed that on top of Scottish Government increases those in the highest band will be hit with rises of more than £500 a year.
Mr Miller said the increase, which was less than many feared, will raise an extra £1.6 million for council services.
“This is a council which has faced up to difficult budget decisions, while continuing to protect what people hold most dear,” he said.
That included providing for the future of young people in the area, which he said was at the heart of council’s spending plans.
Education got top billing in the budget, with Mr Miller announcing £10m of capital expenditure towards building a new replacement school for Perth High.
Almost £7m is already in hand and the remainder of the finances for the £45m to £50m project would be secured through the Scottish Government in due course.
“This means that we will have almost £17m in place towards the modernisation of our largest secondary school,” said Mr Miller.
“In 2017/18 we will spend almost £158 million on our children, both educating and supporting them.”
Other budget measures carried include a freeze on car parking charges; nearly £2m for road safety improvements; £325,000 towards mainstream care at home services; £350,000 towards the growth of the tourism industry; £100,000 to support the money advice service provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau and £100,000 to trial late night bus services on Fridays and Saturdays.
Commending his budget, Mr Miller said: “I am delighted to confirm to the council today that in line with our existing commitment this SNP budget avoids any compulsory redundancies.”