THE LEADER of Angus Council, Councillor Bob Myles, has wished a Happy New Year to all residents and friends of Angus.
He has sent a positive message to everyone, listing improvments to be made during the year but started off with a warning.
He said: “2012 will be a year of change, with elections taking place in the USA, Russia and of course for local government in Angus.
“The global economic crisis will mean a testing time for businesses and communities alike and the council will be affected as all others. Some may wish to bury their heads in the sand and blame national governments for all their woes, but in Angus Council we believe we have to be innovative and creative to make the best use of the funds we receive, as we have in the past few challenging years.
“This pragmatic approach has served Angus well and means we are better placed than some other councils for the tough times ahead.
“I would like to thank those of you who took part in our recent budget consultation, the most comprehensive carried out by the council to date, and on the whole you agreed with the main thrust of our proposals.”
He continued: “So this year, we will continue to drive down our running costs, find better ways of working and will stay focused on the service priorities already agreed for Angus.
“The building of quality, affordable and energy efficient homes is such a priority. To that end, we have embarked on an ambitious programme to build 147 new homes across Angus, 12 of which have just been completed.
“Ten of those are part of the new Kinloch development in Carnoustie, which when completed next year, will also provide 28 supported housing cottages and a care facility for older residents.
“As well as increasing the number of available homes, investment on this scale gives a very welcome boost to our construction industry and the local economy.
“There are many other exciting projects coming to fruition in Angus. In Brechin, most of the work has now been completed through the Townscape Heritage Initiative to enhance and restore the properties in the old heart of the city, for the benefit of businesses and residents alike.
“Also, Brechin has the prospect of a new high school to which pupils, parents and teachers can look forward. Monifieth residents have also welcomed the completion of their town centre enhancements and look forward to developing their community hub facility.”
Councillor Myles went on: “Montrose Swimming pool and sports complex is on schedule to open in October, and will be a lasting benefit for the people of the town and throughout Angus. Arbroath residents and visitors will benefit from the new £500,000 West Links play area, due to open in the autumn.
“In Forfar, it is good to see the old council offices at St James House developed and many other new housing projects on the horizon. In Kirriemuir, the council’s ACCESS office will move into the police station building, an example of premises sharing with our partners in Tayside Police.
“The police will relocate their museum from Dundee to their Kirriemuir premises this spring, making a welcome addition to the county’s range of tourist attractions. These are just a few of the varied projects the council is involved in delivering across the county.
“It has been particularly pleasing to get cross party support for most of our initiatives, as at the end of the day we are all trying to deliver what is best for Angus, and I find party political interference can often hinder rather than help the smooth running of our council.”
He concluded: “But whether it is through housing, social care or any one of the dozens of other services provided by the council - my fellow councillors and I are committed to delivering the best we can for Angus this year, and in the years to come.”