The Watford Conservative mayoral candidate has pledged to take an axe to the borough’s political and administrative costs if elected on Thursday.
Linda Topping said she would slash spending in the mayor’s office and scrap the council’s quarterly magazine About Watford to make the authority a leaner operation.
In her manifesto she said the current Liberal Democrat mayor Dorothy Thornhill, is “paid too much” despite “limited responsibilities” and the new salary would “better reflect the responsibilities of the position”, although she has not specified how much she would reduce the mayor’s £65,000 salary by.
Read the full manifesto here:
Watford Conservatives Policy Priorities.docx
The Conservative said she would also look for a less expensive method of informing residents about council business and dismissed About Watford as “expensive propaganda funded by the taxpayer”.
If elected, Mrs Topping said she would also cut the budgets of council departments where the services are being outsourced to private organisations.
Another key pledge from Mrs Topping was to encourage people in the town to shop locally by launching a “reward scheme” for residents.
In conjunction with this she said she wanted to improve the appearance of the town’s shopping parades to make them more attractive to shoppers.
Mrs Topping said: “Our neighbourhood shops are vital to maintaining a distinct community feel and provide much needed amenities for residents. As mayor, I will continue my work with residents, businesses, charities and politicians of all parties to re-energise our local shops.”
The Conservative has said if elected she would aim to improve the town’s infrastructure by working with Watford’s Tory MP and Conservative-dominated Hertfordshire County Council to “deliver more focused and joined-up thinking”.
The manifesto also prioritised sorting out the botched reorganisation of Watford Junction. London Midland has said it is looking to redraw the layout of the main train station after a £1m revamp last year caused serious traffic problems.
Mrs Topping said: “Watford Conservatives will make Watford Junction a top priority and ensure action is taken to resolve the issue as quickly and as cost effectively as possible.”
Another plank of her manifesto was to shake up controlled parking schemes. Mrs Topping said under her control, the council would look at introducing new parking schemes on a “street by street basis”.