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Rossendale authority could slash number of councillors
9:00am Saturday 23rd February 2013 in News
ROSSENDALE Council could slash the number of councillors, wards and elections it has in order to meet budget cuts.
A report ahead of next Wednesday’s full council budget meeting recommends that the council considers scrapping the current system of elections in thirds in favour of an all-out vote once every four years - potentially saving £25,000 a year.
A number of committees could also be merged as officers seek to halve the number of meetings and make democratic processes, such as licensing, more efficient.
The authority must make savings of almost £1.4m in the next year.
Further changes to the role of the borough’s Mayor are also due to be discussed, with some councillors and more than 70 per cent of public consultation respondents keen to see a ‘modern Mayor’ introduced.
Council deputy leader Sean Serridge said the ruling Labour party were committed to looking at every possible option when it comes to saving money.
Coun Serridge said: “We are determined to meet those cuts by reviewing efficiency and looking at new ways of working.
“Our electoral system in Rossendale is clumsy and expensive for such a small council.
“We’re asking the Electoral Commission to conduct a review of arrangements in Rossendale with a view to reducing the number of councillors by between one-third and half, to 18 or 24 instead of the present 36.”
To make changes to the number of members per ward, the council requires permission from the local government boundary commission for England, which, at present, would not be possible before 2015.
Introducing a ‘modern Mayor’ would mean the borough’s first citizen loses their personal driver and would not wear their formal robes and chains to as many events.
Last June the council’s civic matters working group agreed that the Mayor would be limited to attending no more than 15 civic events outside Rossendale, and the council thinks it may be able to save up to £50,000 a year with more changes.
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