SCOTTISH Borders Council (SBC) predicts a £15 million impact on its budget due to coronavirus.

In a report shared today (Thursday, June 25) at the first full council meeting since lockdown, the local authority's finance department said the total estimated impact of COVID-19 for 2020/2021 would be in the millions.

Officers also reported that direct debit payments of council tax had been "materially affected by the pandemic".

There is likely to be a shortfall in cash and cheque payments totalling £600,000, officer said – likely due to a "cash flow issue rather than a budgetary issue".

During the presentation of the financial report, chief financial officer David Robertson said the council has faced "unprecedented pressures".

In response, councillor Kris Chapman asked what planning was in place should a second wave of the virus hit.

Mr Robertson said: "We hope there won't be a second wave.

"One major effort is processing support grants – stepping up our response.

"The council will seek to use all resources at our disposal."

The meeting, the first full council meeting since March, was conducted via [Microsoft] Teams, with members of the public and press viewing proceedings by a livestream.

Convener David Parker opened the meeting by paying respect to the late councillor Kevin Drum, who died on March 7 at the age of 61.

Councillor Stuart Bell described the Leaderdale and Melrose representative as a "lovely man", adding: "We remember and miss him."

Tom Miers, who was Mr Drum's ward colleague, said: "My deep condolences to [his] friends and family. He was always very kind."

A one-minute silence was then witnessed by members in memory of their colleague.

As business recommenced, minutes from SBC meetings and committees were approved before moving on to the council's COVID-19 report.

In a presentation, officer Rob Dixon said: "It's clearly been a challenging time for us.

"Only in recent weeks have we been moving to a form of recovery, but we also remain in response mode."

As the meeting drew to an end, councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol was appointed as Dementia Champion, and Mr Parker commented on missing Ms Thornton-Nicol's homebaking which she would normally bring to meetings.

Councillor Robin Tatler was nominated to replace Gordon Edgar as the substitute member of the Scotland Excel joint committee.