Bedford is the only district in the Anglia region which has an elected mayor who runs the council along with a team of councillors.
The elections are held every four years and there are five candidates standing in the next election on Thursday 2 May 2019.
There will also be elections for 40 councillors. While the councillors are elected by the traditional first-past-the-post electoral system, the mayor is elected by proportional representation.
Click to watch a report on the Bedford mayor election contest by ITV News Anglia's Liz Summers
Bedford is a so-called unitary authority which runs all the local services in its area from education to highways, planning, rubbish collections, housing and social care.
In most of the rest of the East of England there is a two-tier council structure were some services are run by a district council and others by a county council.
Cambridgeshire also has an elected mayor which that post is a 'metro-mayor' who has a strategic function working with the existing district, city and county councils.
There are five candidates standing in the election for mayor of Bedford
Gianni Carofano - Conservative
Adrian Haynes - UKIP
Dave Hodgson - Liberal Democrat
Jenni Jackson - Labour
Adrian Spurrell - Green
Voting for the mayor and for local councillors is on Thursday 2 May 2019 with polling stations open from 7am until 10pm
The Bedford mayoral election is held on the same day as local elections across much on the country.
There are 1,500 council seats on 44 councils in the Anglia region up for grabs in the biggest test of political opinion since the General Election in 2017.