Election change proposals for Hartlepool dismissed by councillors after concerns

Councillors have supported the council’s current election cycle, backing it as the best way to serve residents in the area.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16 July, 2019, 16:44

Hartlepool Borough Council currently holds elections over a four year period, with one third of councillors elected each year with one fallow year.

A report to the constitution committee noted if elections moved to an ‘all out’ election every four years it is estimated £40,000 a year would be saved against the existing budget.

It added further savings come if elections combine with Tees Valley or national elections.

However councillors said residents are served best with current model of elections, as it allows the council to face the public each year, and agreed on not changing the cycle.

Coun Marjorie James said: “What happens in other boroughs on a four year cycle, they do all the rubbish that hurts people, they put prices up, they charge for garden waste, do all sorts of stuff like that in the first two years.

“Then they get a little bit nice to you in year three, and then they’re all over you like a rash in year four because they’re up for election.

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“In Hartlepool we don’t do that, we face the public a third at a time, every year, apart from the fallow year, and I think that’s right and proper.

“Residents should have the opportunity to make changes in situ within a four year cycle, not have to wait four years.”

However Coun James did raise a motion to explore the cost of savings of moving the election count from after the polls close at 10pm, to the following morning, which was supported.

Councillors also noted the current model provides some consistency and ensures experienced councillors have the chance to help any new elected members.

Coun Ann Marshall said: “The way that it works now if you’re in that position you have the opportunity to pass all those skills and knowledge onto other people.”

However next year will feature an ‘all out election’ in a one-off due to the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England publishing its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements.