An overhaul of cultural services in Perth and Kinross must be ambitious, rather than simply save money, councillors have warned.
Plans are afoot to transform cultural and heritage activities including museums, libraries and theatre.
The favoured option is thought to be a merger of Culture Perth and Kinross (CPK) – which operates museums, libraries, archives, family and local history – and Horsecross Arts, which runs the city’s theatre and concert hall.
Both bodies have been told to come up with a total of £144,000 savings in the next three years, while a further saving of £150,000 is expected to be made through the review.
But when councillors debated the proposals, the council was accused of having its “head in the weeds”.
Opposition leader and SNP councillor Dave Doogan, said: “Our eggs are now in a very expensive cultural basket and I’m worried that we have our head not in the sky, but down in the weeds scratching around for £100,000 here and another £100,000 there.
“There is a fantastic organisation waiting to come through and I’m not certain we’re going to do it. We need a far higher gaze than this approach.
“It seems to me that we should take a change of tack and rather than worry about the day to day administrating we should get a business advisor to maximise what are very expensive assets which aren’t being used to their optimum scale.”
This was backed by independent councillor Xander McDade, at yesterday’s strategic policy and resources committee.
“There needs to be more done to make this more sustainable [but] we risk being a Jack of all trades and a master of none,” he said.
A “hybrid model” is also being considered, which would see the two organisation run separately, while working together in areas such as fundraising.
Council leader Murray Lyle agreed to take the suggestion on board but insisted the review will proceed as planned.
“Whilst there are savings attached to this review, the key driver behind it is making the most of our substantial investment in culture,” he added.
“There are no clear cut conclusions at this stage.”
A final recommendation is expected in November.
Around 170 staff currently work across the two organisations and council officers insisted they will be fully consulted on any changes.