The authority will be led by the region’s first-ever mayor with voters going to the polls on May 2. Councillors at North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council will discuss a report later today detailing the new mayor’s budget in their first year.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked for clarity on how many staff will be hired and what roles they will be doing. James Farrar, interim director of transition, said the 54 officers will help to deliver £56 million of “transformational programmes” related to housing, education, business and net zero. They will also work to win additional investment and support businesses in the region. Staff currently working in the office of Zoe Metcalfe, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, will transfer into the combined authority.
An independent panel will make a recommendation on what the new mayor will be paid after the election. Powers used by mayors elsewhere in the country have included taking buses back into public ownership. Conservative Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen brought Teeside International Airport into public ownership in 2018 but he’s faced criticism over use of public money in the Redcar Steelworks project.
Cllr Andy Brown (Green Party, Aire Valley) said he would have preferred to see one mayor for the whole of Yorkshire, but he said he hopes the role will lead to more investment in the region. Joanna Marchong, investigations campaign manager of campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance said residents “will be sceptical of a huge pay bill” amidst talk of savings. She added: “Combined authorities often deliver cheaper, more efficient services and York and North Yorkshire combined authority should be no exception. Officials must iron out the details and ensure residents are getting value for money.”