STIRLING Council's administration has said investment of almost £26million is being proposed under its budget plans.

The draft administration budget and capital plan have been published ahead of the budget setting meeting on Thursday where councillors will consider and decide the financial plan for the coming year.

It is said the proposals would see the local authority investing more than £1million in initiatives including a pilot project to target holiday hunger among school pupils; investing £200,000 to mitigate the impact of Universal Credit; making Stirling a Dementia-Friendly- City; enhancing cemetery maintenance and introducing 20mph zones.

A further £24m would be invested across capital projects including £4.5m for road improvements and modernisation, over £2m for City Deal projects, over £300,000 to enhance parks and play areas, £1.1m for a flood prevention scheme fund, over £5m to enhance schools and early years and £1m to improve the area’s digital connectivity.

Over the next five years, a gap of £19.8million is anticipated between what the council receives in funding and revenue and the cost of delivering its services and this will have to be addressed through the budget setting.

More than 1900 people took part in this year’s budget consultation and put forward their views on 42 options proposed by officers.

The draft administration budget is based on a Council Tax increase of 3 per cent to protect essential services and includes the following:

• Generating income from advertising on Council assets including buildings and roundabouts

• Increasing the number of schools with shared headteachers

• Introducing solar canopies at two Council sites

• Reducing the Council vehicle fleet

• Operating Wellgreen Car Park in house

• Reducing funding to Active Stirling

The administration is proposing to reject options which were least popular with communities including:

• Reducing funding to Smith Art Gallery & Museum

• Increasing car parking charges

• Reducing school meals menu choice

• Ceasing deep cleans of communities

• Revising the partnership agreement with Big Noise

Councillor Scott Farmer, council leader, said: “We continue to do everything we can to ensure Stirling receives the maximum funding to deliver its services and I think our residents realise the challenge we face in the years ahead.

"The draft budget being put forward by the administration takes account of the feedback we received during the budget consultation and seeks to ensure we can invest for our future and realise our ambitions for the city.”

Councillor Danny Gibson, depute leader, added: “Setting the budget is always challenging as we know how much residents rely on our council services.

"As an administration we are determined to protect our most vulnerable, protect our frontline services and deliver the infrastructure and investment our communities need.”

It will be for councillors to decide on the budget for 18/19 at the full council meeting on Thursday.