THIS week’s Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee meeting was all about budgets – landscape services, roads maintenance – and the Committee’s budget for local projects.
This year, some £80,000 can be applied for, with the maximum payment for any one initiative being £8,000.
Much talk was had of participatory budgeting (PB) – a process in which the public are involved in funding choices, by voting for the schemes they favour. The Scottish Government want local authorities to work towards having 1% of their annual budgets disbursed in this way.
Aberdeenshire’s revenue budget for 2019/20 is some £565 million.
Last year, Portlethen projects shared £20,000 in a PB exercise that Councillor Evison described as a learning process. She also said the amount involved was just ‘a toe in the ocean’.
But Councillor Sandy Wallace said, he feared funding would favour those with the loudest voices and those who enjoy attending meetings.
He added, “Anything that comes out of the Scottish Government, I treat with a certain level of scepticism.”
Meanwhile, in 2018/19, the Area Committee made various awards to groups in Stonehaven: the Men’s shed – £8,000 to assist with the refurbishment of the Green Pavilion; Home-Start Kincardine – £1,850 for office equipment; Dunnottar School – £4,000 for various items including an outdoor classroom and woodland area; Mearns FM – £300 for cable protectors; and the Stonehaven Fireballs Association – £8,000 towards crowd barriers.
Any group wishing to apply to the Area Committee for assistance will find an application on the Council’s website, or, can contact the area office, where staff are happy to discuss the criteria to be met and information needed.