Setting up Manchester’s new mayoral system is to cost councils more than £5m, the M.E.N. can reveal – while running it will cost £2m a year.
The figures are revealed in a report going before the region’s combined authority of ten council leaders, which will soon be overseen by the mayor.
May’s election alone is going to cost £4m, while a further £1.4m has been budgeted for other one-off transition costs such as new IT, legal advice and temporary extra staffing.
It is understood local officials had tried to persuade the government to stump up for the cost of the election, but when that failed have now had to draw up their own budget for it.
That cost will re-emerge in 2020 when the next election is due to be held.
Once the mayor is in post, the new model – including the figurehead’s salary, office costs and senior officers – will then cost nearly £2m a year to run.
That includes a total £242,000 budgeted for the mayor’s salary, a policy officer to advise them and other office and administrative costs.
The mayor’s pay is due to be decided by an independent panel in the next couple of months and is likely to be around £100,000 a year. However they will replace the police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd, who is already paid that figure, so his or her salary is unlikely to be an extra financial burden in itself.
Two new senior officers – one to oversee the body and a treasurer – will cost £500,000, once secretarial support is factored in.
Currently the head of paid service role is filled by Manchester council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, who does not get paid an extra salary for the position. Similarly Manchester council’s treasurer Richard Paver has been doubling up to do the same role for the combined authority.
On Friday current Stockport council chief executive Eamonn Boylan was appointed to take up the head of paid service position on a permanent basis, on a salary of up to £180,000 a year.
Ongoing costs of £1.2m a year are also being budgeted for the authority’s headquarters on Oxford Street, including IT, rent, cleaning, business rates and day-to-day running expenses.