CLOSING a rural school, increasing parking charges, cutting school crossing patrol officers and reducing the frequency of garden waste uplifts have all been identified by East Lothian Council as possible budget saving options as the local authority looks to save almost £40m over the next five years.

Residents are being urged to have their say on how the local authority spends money to support local services before the council sets its budget for 2018/2019.

READ MORE: Rural schools and free pupil transport under threat

Fifteen ‘budget saving proposals’ – also including a review of adult social care services charging, the removal of the concessionary rail travel card, and charging for school music tuition – have been identified.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, depute council leader, said the Labour-led council faced a significant reduction in Scottish Government funding but stressed that no final decisions on local services had been made.

READ MORE: Deputy council leader on why the council has to make major cuts

Below are the 15 options set out by the council - however, the council has stressed these are only examples of some of the budget saving options council officers have identified.

1. Limit provision of free home to school transport for secondary school pupils who live over three miles from school (currently two miles)

  • The statutory requirement is only to provide it for those pupils living over three miles. Saving – £600,000.

2. Close a rural school with less than 50 per cent capacity

  • Some rural schools have pupil numbers less than 50 per cent of the school’s maximum capacity. Two schools in East Lothian currently fall into this bracket: Humbie Primary School and Stenton Primary School. Saving – £250,000.

3. Rationalise and review council assets/office provision

  • Options could include reviewing provision of the use of existing customer centres. Saving – £100,000+.

4. Transfer the management of village halls to the community

  • The council owns and operates many village halls in East Lothian Saving – £140,000.

5. Reduce financial support for public events

  • The council could explore alternative sponsorship options with organisers. Saving – £200,000.

6. Concessionary rail travel card removal

  • Universal concessionary rail travel for residents over 60 is a discretionary support which could be removed. Saving – £182,000.

7. Review the delivery of the garden waste collection service

  • There is no statutory requirement to uplift all garden waste. Options could be removal, reduction in frequency or charging for service. Saving – £200,000.

8. Review of school crossing service

  • There is no statutory requirement to provide this service; it could be removed or reduced. Saving – £250,000.

9. Reduce partnership funding to organisations

  • This budget could be reduced. Saving – £200,000.

10. Review provision of outdoor learning

  • The council operates a number of outdoor learning and education centres – the provision and programme delivery could be reviewed. Saving – £230,000.

11. Review of taxi card scheme

  • Current discounted taxi fares to those meeting special criteria are discretionary. Saving – £45,000.

12. Review of car parking charges

  • This could include an increase to existing car parking charges, plus new charges including on/off street parking. Saving – up to £5 million.

13. Introduce charging for uplifts for disposal of bulky items

  • Most other councils charge for this service. Saving – £90,000.

14. Introduce charging for instrumental music tuition

  • Free additional music tuition in schools for pupils wanting to learn an instrument is currently provided. A means-tested approach to charge for additional tuition could be introduced. Saving – £480,000.

15. Review of charges for adult social care services

  • Charges for a number of adult social care services could be reviewed and new charges could be introduced. Saving – up to £1 million.