The “huge financial burden” of paying for elections will impact democracy at town and community council level, says a councillor calling for a change to policy.

Clr. Tony Wilcox is calling on Pembrokeshire County Council to reconsider a 2016 decision to stop funding for town and community elections, with full cost recovery the current policy coming into force in 2018.

Clr. Wilcox, also a member of Pembroke Dock Town Council said a recent election had cost more than £9,000 and despite having been making savings each year in case of elections or by-election the costs were greater than expected.

He said that smaller councils would struggle to pay for elections and an “unrealistic burden” was being placed on them, calling for the policy to be suspended while a review is carried out.

“It’s going to be a huge financial burden on democracy locally,” he said.

He was supported by Clr. Reg Owens who said in the rural wards he represented it was a “threat to democracy” as it could put people off standing for election when the cost burden would be placed on the community.

Clr. Jacob Williams added it could even lead to “disbanding” of councils if the cost burden was too high.

His Notice of Motion about the matter was discussed, but not adopted, by corporate overview and scrutiny committee on January 28 where it was decided that other options for funding be explored.

The recommendations made by council officers were that a review of the full cost recovery charging model be reviewed, printing cost reductions be considered and the viability an election costs insurance scheme – similar to a central pot of teacher sickness funds that schools contribute to – be explored.