CHESHIRE West and Chester Council is committed to providing services for £30m a year less than the old set-up with details to be unveiled in its first budget next month.
Chief executive Steve Robinson says money can be saved in “a relatively painless way”.
That’s because there’s has been a recruitment freeze at the county, city, Ellesmere Port and Vale Royal councils in the run-up to the hand-over of power on April 1.
There is also flexibility because 600 temporary staff are in place and, in addition, 500 people have requested voluntary redundancy.
But Mr Robinson, heading a 13,000-strong workforce and £500m budget, stressed that not all 500 jobs would go.
He said: “Where you have got frontline services that you clearly need, people can put themselves forward but it's unlikely we are going to say yes to those proposals.”
But the unions are nevertheless concerned that commitments to low council tax and carrying out the work with fewer people must mean services will suffer.
However, Mr Robinson and the Conservative political leadership believe reducing four management teams to one, stream-lining backroom services and working differently can deliver better quality services.
The chief executive said: “At this stage of the process what we are saying is we are de-layering the management of four organisations and making it smaller, sharper and more decisive.
“We are looking at changing processes and procedures and cutting out the bureaucracy in the way things are done which will get things done faster.
“And there will be some services where just bringing them together, you get some economies of scale, that is what we will have teased out by the time we set that budget on 26th February but it's important to know that is not the end of it.”
He added: “There will be a process through 2009 where we rigorously look at how the business is delivered and how can we do it in a different way, how can we do it cheaper and improve performance and improve quality.”
Mr Robinson said Government saw unitary councils like Cheshire West as flagships, leading the way for others to follow.