Administration wins vote

Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors on Aberdeenshire Council combined to vote down an attempt by SNP councillors to reform the way in which Stonehaven and Laurencekirk Common Good Funds - and other trusts and common good funds across Aberdeenshire – are administered by the council.

Currently, due to the low base rate, the administration charge levied by Aberdeenshire Council against the Common Good Funds of burghs such as Inverbervie, Stonehaven and Laurencekirk is double that of the annual interest income.

SNP councillors brought forward a proposal that the administration charges levied by the council on these funds should be capped so as not to exceed the income which was narrowly defeated on a vote by 33-30.

Commenting after the meeting of the Full Council, Cllr Jean Dick said: “While it was disappointing to lose the vote so narrowly, the argument was won and this issue will be raised again in the future.

“At the moment, because the Common Good Funds only distributes grants from their income, there is no money to do so because the administration charge levied by the council more than wipes that out.

“That cannot be right and it was clear from listening to other speakers during today’s debate that the current position is not sustainable and I expect we will see some changes brought forward after the elections.”

Cllr Graeme Clark added: “Common Good Funds are for the benefit of the Common Good, and shouldn’t be run for the benefit of Aberdeenshire Council. Today’s vote was very close and I’m now hopeful that we will see some changes in the near future.”

Stonehaven Conservative Councillor Wendy Agnew voted for the SNP motion, but all the other Conservative and Lim-Dem members from Kincardine and Mearns voted against.