A controversial cost-cutting plan to scrap vital winter maintenance services is expected to be kicked out by councillors.
Local authority bosses have been urged to axe out-of-hours pavement treatment across Perth and Kinross, despite warnings it could lead to a surge in early morning accidents and complaints.
Slashing back on gritter work by 20% across local roads, as well as general footpath treatment by a further 60%, has been recommended as a severe new budget plan drawn up by council officers.
Cutbacks to the winter maintenance bill would save the authority more than £610,000.
The council is scrambling to make savings of around £40 million over the next three years, with everything from teaching jobs to public toilets at risk.
However, members of the Tory-led administration have vowed to fight any cuts to the winter maintenance budget.
Conservative councillor Callum Purves, who is vice convener of the environment and infrastructure committee, spoke out ahead of Thursday’s budget talks. He said: “The previous SNP administration took savings from the winter maintenance budget that resulted in a reduction in the number of gritters that service the Perth and Kinross Council area.
“Last year, the partnership administration brought in a new winter service policy to mitigate the effects of this previous decision.
“We also introduced night routes operating out of Kinross and Crieff to ensure that priority routes in these areas were treated before people had to travel to work or school.”
He said: “Winter maintenance is one of the things that our constituents expect us to deliver to a high standard.
“Having experienced the worst winter weather in five years, local residents quite simply could not stomach any more cuts to this budget.
“I am therefore delighted that the partnership administration can continue to build on our commitment to maintaining a good service in this area, by ensuring that the winter maintenance budget is protected in full.”
A report detailing the pros and cons of the winter maintenance cuts has been presented to councillors.
A 60% cut to normal hours’ footpath treatment would prioritise pavements around schools and town centres.
“More than half the existing priority footpath network would not receive any winter treatment during normal working hours,” the paper states.
Councillors have been warned: “The proposals would potentially result in increased complaints and less resilience to severe weather events.
The cuts would likely see the loss of dozens of Tayside Contract jobs.
The council administration – made up of Conservative, Lib Dem and independent councillors – have already pledged to fight other measures including scrapping recycling centres, ending swimming lessons for primary school pupils and doing away with all lollipop patrols.