An interactive budget simulator has gone online as Argyll and Bute Council asks the public for views on spending cuts.
The authority says it needs to cut costs by £40m over the next seven years.
In 2011 it was forced to drop plans to close 26 primary schools after huge public protests across the area – at one point councillors said they faced a total budget shortfall of at least £15 million in 2011-12.
Now the council, under changed political control after May;’s elections, says it is taking a long term approach to the budget process, but the need to save £6m annually for the next seven years is equivalent to 3% of the council’s spending on services like roads, education, social work or leisure.
Before the 2013/14 budget decision meeting in February, the council wants to listen to people’s views on what services should be prioritised or where spending could be reduced.
And the council’s website now features a budget simulator where people can create their own ‘budget’ based on what services they think should be prioritised or reduced.
A new budget consultation document will be available from council offices and online, including a detailed breakdown of what services cost, a comparison with the Scottish average and some questions to consider in terms of services, spending and saving.
SNP council leader Roddy McCuish said: “Like other local authorities and public agencies, our resources will continue to be under pressure.
“However, the council has been successful in managing its budget and has saved £20m of costs annually over the past few years.
“We are keen to hear what the people of Argyll and Bute think as we work towards our budget decisions, and I would encourage everyone to look at our budget consultation document or visit our website and have their say about the 2013/14 budget. “
The public can email views to firstname.lastname@example.org , find budget information at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/budgetconsultation2013 and watch out for details of web chats, web casts and the budget simulator.