HARTLEPOOL will go to the polls next week to decide whether to keep a directly-elected mayor - and people are being encouraged to use their vote.
The mayoral referendum will ask voters whether they want to keep the current system of an elected mayor and cabinet or opt for a system of committees made up of elected councillors.
People have the chance to have their say on Thursday, November 15, the same day as the Police Crime Commissioner election.
Polling stations will be open across town between 7am and 10pm, with the results announced after the count at the Mill House Leisure Centre, in Raby Road.
The ballot paper will ask people how they would like Hartlepool Council to be run from the two options.
If the majority are in favour of the mayoral system the council will continue to have an elected mayor and cabinet system and there will be an election for the position of mayor in May 2013.
If the majority vote for the committee system, then the mayor and cabinet would be replaced by the committee system from May.
A council spokesman said: “Hartlepool Council is giving residents of the borough an important opportunity to have their say on how they would like their council to be run in the future.
“This will take the form of a referendum which will take place on Thursday, November 15.
“Hartlepool Council has had an elected mayor and cabinet since May 2002 and voters will be asked in the referendum whether they want to retain this system or see it replaced by committees of councillors.
“The referendum, which will be held on the same day as the election to appoint a Police and Crime Commissioner in the Cleveland Police area, provides a very important choice for Hartlepool and its people.”
Mayor Stuart Drummond, who became the town’s first elected mayor in May 2002, has previously welcomed the chance for people to have their say.
In order to take part in the referendum people need to be a resident of the borough of Hartlepool, be aged 18 or over on the day of the referendum and be registered to vote.
Polling cards have been sent out informing people where their polling station is and people can either vote in person, by post or by proxy, which means allowing somebody that you choose to vote on your behalf.
In order to have a proxy vote, completed applications must be received by the elections office by 5pm this Wednesday.
Forms can be downloaded from the council’s website. To find out more about the referendum call the elections office on (01429) 523088.