THE latest budget numbers ahead of a council meeting this week paint a bleak picture of how West Dunbartonshire could balance the books.

Despite more money from the Scottish Government, the council will have to find more than £35million in the next three years, £4.1m this year alone.

Drastic plans such as cutting bin collections to once every three weeks and shutting Dalmuir Golf Course would only save £1.7m. And a potential renegotiation of loans to save £3m has been knocked back by Audit Scotland.

Council tax could get set at Thursday’s meeting, with bosses pitching a minimum of 3 per cent and a maximum of 4.79 per cent.

Even that higher tax hike would only bring in an extra £600,000.

Now the council will put out their original potential cuts - revealed in December - to public consultation from February 15 to March 10.

Last week SNP council leader Jonathan McColl welcomed the increased funding even as they were working on the calculations for what it could mean for the budget.

But Labour’s David McBride was critical of the settlement from the Scottish Government and said it would still not be enough to stem cuts to services.

READ MORE: West Dunbartonshire Council could still face millions in cuts

The Scottish Government will give councils the power to have tourism taxes or to put a price on work place car parks. But the local SNP have already ruled out the tax on drivers.

Thursday’s council meeting will also consider rent increases for West Dunbartonshire tenants, expected to be 2 per cent, working out as an average of £1.56 per week. There would also be a 2 per cent rent hike for the Gypsy Travellers site, while lock-up rent levels will stay at £5.55 per week.

Council officials advise setting council tax and rent levels this week before a statutory deadline in March, but the final budget deal won’t be decided until March 27, two days before the current planned departure from the EU. That is still classed in council papers as a significant unknown factor.

The report states: “The current budget assumptions are based on the UK budget announced in the autumn of 2018 which stated that in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit it was likely that the UK Government would require to reset the county’s finances.

“Such a move or any other impact of Brexit could have a significant impact on the council and its financial position for 2019/20 and subsequent years.”

A final pay deal for council workers for 2018/19 is also still up in the area, throwing further confusion into final calculations.