NORTH Ayrshire Council will need to fill a gap of almost £16 million when their budget for the coming financial year is decided next week.

Elected members will vote to finalise budget proposals for 2024/25 at a full council meeting on Wednesday, February 28.

No decisions have yet been finalised though a number of options will be considered as they look to provide a balanced budget which will require "significant savings".

Amongst the range of options councillors will need to consider include a potential five per cent increase in council fees and charges (not including school meals) as well as the introduction of a £50 annual charge for the collection of garden waste.

Though the council say that despite the financial climate, the budget they consider will aim to continue to help support residents through the ongoing financial challenges while protecting jobs and services as much as possible.

Ahead of creating their budget the council carried out community engagement through an online budget challenge simulator and an online session with community representatives - which they say has helped drive their proposals.

They added that proposals will focus on supporting the people of North Ayrshire through the council's key priorities – including wellbeing, communities and local democracy, and climate change.

And amongst expected cutbacks, there are still plans to make investment across the area.

The report makes proposals for investment in a two megawatt wind turbine at i3, Irvine, which could realise up to £500,000 income to the council as well as a town centre fund.

It is currently recommended that Council Tax should be frozen at 2023/24 levels, with funding provided by the Scottish Government based on a five percent increase to plug the gap left by frozen rates - estimated to be around £3.5m.

However, the final say on this will be up to the elected members next week.

In addition to the revenue budget, councillors will also consider the capital budget which supports investment in their infrastructure and regeneration projects.

The £406million capital budget includes investment in a wide range of projects such as North Ayrshire’s roads, the upgrade of the B714, decarbonisation of the council fleet, Millport flood protection scheme, the great harbour in Irvine and Ardrossan coastal quarter.

The full council will meet from 2pm on Wednesday, February 28, to set the Budget for 2024/25. The meeting will be available to view live online via the council's meeting streaming platform.