So we’ve got five weeks or so until we get the chance to vote in the borough council elections.

Are you excited about the prospect? I am.

Yes, I know it says a lot about the kind of person I am but I think exercising my right to elect the people who are going to represent me is really important.

To the best of my knowledge, I only failed to vote in one election in my life. I’ve turned out for every other parish election, every borough and national vote and every referendum since I was able to vote.

I love the cut and thrust of local politics, but I think it is about much more than just posturing and pantomime.

If you don’t think local politics affects you, think again. It touches all parts of our lives from having your bins emptied to getting planning permission, from how much council tax you pay to adult social care provision.

And more recently, the council has been responsible for the local public health response to the coronavirus pandemic.

So yes, it’s important.

As I said, I’m interested in what will happen in the elections on May 6 and anyone who reads the comments on the Guardian’s website will quickly come to realise there is a number of local ‘commentators’ (that’s about as polite as I can be about them) who are also quick to make their opinions known.

By and large, these commentators are extremely critical of the Labour group that has been in control of Warrington Council since the 2016 election.

To be fair, I’ve had a few things to say about certain aspects of council policy over the years but you would be making a mistake to think that the ‘commentators’, or me for that matter, represent the views of the vast majority of Warringtonians.

Former prime minister David Cameron once told a Conservative party conference the reason polls were so wrong in the run-up to a General Election was because "Britain and Twitter are not the same thing". Similarly, Warrington and the Guardian’s comments section are not the same thing.

The stark fact is that whoever wins control of the council next month will be faced with the same problems. They won’t just go away if another party has a majority, nor will those problems go away if there is an upsurge in support for independent candidates or if there has to be some kind of coalition.

And it all comes down to money. Have a look at what the Institute for Government has to say on the matter. “Local authority ‘spending power’ – that is, the amount of money local authorities have to spend from government grants, council tax, and business rates – has fallen by 18 per cent since 2010.

“Local authorities have not been able to raise council tax rates by more than 2 per cent annually without holding a referendum since 2012/13. Theresa May’s government increased this to 3 per cent, but Boris Johnson’s government has since reduced it to 2 per cent for 2020/21.

So that’s a massive cut in government grants and a cap on how much can be collected through council tax. This reduction in income has to be dealt with by all councils, including Warrington.

Somewhat controversially, Warrington Council has attempted to manage with the problem by borrowing vast sums of money at low interest rates, using that cash to fund property deals and collecting rent from the properties it has bought.

And the profit from the rental income has been used to support the services the council is obliged to provide.

I make no judgement on the fiscal, moral or commercial probity of this policy. It may be risky, it may be a stroke of genius.

But the fact remains, it was done to avoid cutting services in the way other councils have had to. Time will tell if it was right or wrong.

So my question to the Conservative, LibDem, Green and independent candidates is a simple one: What will you do to deal with cash shortfall brought about by the cuts in central government funding of the past 11 years? Will you hatchet services to balance the budget?

So to help me make my decision about who to vote for, I’d appreciate it if the candidates, as a matter of urgency, can tell me and all the other voters exactly what they are going to do. I look forward to hearing from you.

Oh, and you can cut out all the waffle about ‘transparency’, ‘listening to the people’ or ‘working hard for the community’. As the song ‘Dirty Cash’ says: Money talks.