In previous columns, I have highlighted the Alexandria Town Centre Forum in an effort to help rejuvenate and regenerate the town centre, bringing local businesses and other interested parties together to discuss ideas and plan for the future of our town centre.

I am now happy to invite you to join the last phase of consultation and discussion on this journey and contribute your valuable views and ideas to the town centre masterplan.

The drop in event is taking place on Wednesday, February 5, between 11am and 7pm at the Old Lagavulin Bistro, 158 Main Street, Alexandria.

More information is available online at where there is also a section to share your ideas if you are unable to attend in person.

In keeping with the community theme, I would like to mention two council employees, Kenny McAdam and Tony Scanlon who work at Dalmoak Recycling Centre.

As many will already be aware, they recently went above and beyond to help reunite a family with their elderly relative’s life savings after it was mistakenly thrown away.

Nominations have opened for the councils 2020 employee recognition awards.

I would encourage the community to join me in showing their appreciation and take the opportunity to highlight some of your own untold stories of WDC staff going the extra mile at

The council budget is, in my experience, the single most controversial area of council business.

This is even more noticeable given the doubts about the UK’s exit from the EU and the recent snap UK election.

These caused long delays to the UK budget announcement which in turn delayed the Scottish Government.

I was, however, pleased to announce that it is my intention to set a balanced, no-cuts budget at the WDC 20/21 budget setting meeting next month.

Through decisions and actions taken throughout the year, including refinancing of old debts, the sale of land at places like Garshake, and the former site of OLSP High School the council will have a significantly increased cash reserve.

I plan to use this money to smooth the way over the next few years, as our budgets are further squeezed to the tune of almost £15million over the next two years.

This week a cross-party delegation from West Dunbartonshire Council will be meeting the public finance minister in Holyrood to make sure that the Government recognise the positive impact a good core settlement will have on your locally delivered public services.