|Cllr John O'Reilly|
THERE could be fewer politicians at Esher Civic Centre in future following a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE).
Conservative councillors voted in April to ask the independent boundary commission to review all 22 wards in Elmbridge as consider the appropriate number of councillors for each (Molesey wards have three each but some others have two).
The borough currently has 60 council seats - 32 are held by Conservatives, 22 by residents associations, six are Liberal Democrats, but the Conservative group would like to see this reduced to 48 in order to cut the cost of local government.
Councillors receive £4,245 as a basic allowance and every year this costs taxpayers £254,700 (plus additional monies councillors receive for cabinet posts and heading committees). A smaller, 48-person council, would save around £47,000 each year, assuming the boundary commission feels a reduction is warranted.
The review and consultations with voters is expected to take over a year and after that further time will be needed to receive the approval of Parliament. So changes are unlikely to take effect until elections in May 2015.
Leader of the Council, Cllr John O'Reilly (pictured) told the Molesey News that the council staff had reduced in recent years, as had the borough’s areas of responsibility, and councillors should not be exempt from the change and reductions.
Elmbridge Conservatives have led the way in reducing the cost of local government in the last six years, by saving £5million through cutting waste, renegotiating contracts and improving efficiency - all of which means the the council can continue to afford quality frontline services.