TOWN and community councils will have the option of paying back election costs over five years as the county council reviews the “financial burden” of holding votes.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet member for finance amended a recommendation to cabinet on Monday (March 15) adding a proposal to inform all community and town councils that there will be an option to repay election costs over five years, subject to an administration few that would be “kept to a minimum.”
The recommendation comes following a Notice of Motion put by Cllr Tony Wilcox asking “that the authority reconsiders the decision to cease funding for Town/Community council elections” due to the financial implications.
The motion was considered by corporate overview and scrutiny committee in January where it was recognised that many community council did not have resources to pay for an election if it arose but if the county council was to foot the bill it could cost around £169,000, based on 17 contested elections in 2017.
Its recommendation to review the full cost recovery charging model, printing costs and the viability of an election costs insurance scheme be explored was accepted by cabinet, with Cllr Kilmister’s amendment.
He said that all democratic bodies pay for their own elections and there is “no justification why the county council should pay for town and community council elections, they should be paid for by the respective body.”
Cllr Guy Woodham added that the “important aspect he is that further work will be undertaken,” with the significant cost to some towns significant.
The burden on smaller, rural councils must also be considered, said Cllr Cris Tomos, with some have precepts far lower than larger towns.