NORTH Devon Council is to consider taking out a £5million loan to balance next year s budget, the North Devon Gazette has learned. If approved, it will be the first time the previously cash-rich authority has needed to borrow since the £44million sale of

NORTH Devon Council is to consider taking out a £5million loan to balance next year's budget, the North Devon Gazette has learned.If approved, it will be the first time the previously cash-rich authority has needed to borrow since the £44million sale of its council houses in February, 2000.Councillors will consider the proposal at a special Executive meeting being held on February 27."No firm decision has been made, but the possibility of borrowing £5million is one option that members are considering," said a council spokesperson.The sale of council homes left the council with £24.2million after paying a Government levy, set-up costs, as well as previous debts.The authority has spent £37million on capital projects since 2001. Projects include £1.5million spent on Ilfracombe harbour in 2001/02. In the same year, the council made an £8.2million payment into the pension fund to reduce North Devon's pension deficit. In 2002/03, £3.1million was spent on social housing, with a further £3.9million spent on the Tarka Tennis Centre. In 2003/04, £1.4million was spent on waste management and recycling, with a further £1million investment in the same in 2004/05.