It will cost almost £2m of taxpayers money to fund the election of a South Yorkshire Mayor
The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will foot the £1.9m bill. The Government has refused to help pay so the Authority will use money from its reserves, mainly from underspends on staffing.
It will be spent on printing and distributing ballot papers and manning polling stations but one of the biggest costs is a booklet explaining the election and detailing the candidates. There are over one million eligible voters and each voter - not just each household - receives a booklet.
There are no predictions on how many people will vote but average turnout for the Metro Mayors elected in other parts of the country in 2017 was an average of 25 per cent - meaning three-quarters of people didn’t bother to vote.
But Centre for Cities, a think tank which is dedicated to improving the economic success of UK cities, says once the Mayor is established, more people will take an interest.
Brian Semple, of Centre for Cities, said: “Other Metro Mayors have had a big impact and have been very high profile. Turnout is on a par with local government elections and as the Mayor becomes more established turnout will increase.”
Centre for Cities says the introduction of the Mayor will bring significant funding to the city region – around £900m over the next 30 years.
Mr Semple added: “We are very supportive of cities like Sheffield introducing a Mayor as it’s really important for big cities to have decision making closer. They should take decisions on housing, transport and jobs from than Westminster. Other Metro Mayors have made sure their regions are high up on the national agenda.”
A poll of more than 500 people in the Sheffield City region, commissioned by Centre for Cities, found 56 percent wanted the Mayor to have greater powers than local council leaders.
The election is on Thursday, May 3.