WELLINGTON town council staff could be in line for their second major pay rise in 16 months - at the same time as ratepayers face a near-doubling of council tax.

With the town council set to take on responsibility from the bankruptcy-threatened Somerset Council, the town clerk, Dave Farrow, said pay packets should reflect the increased complexity of the work employees would have to undertake.

Ahead of a committee meeting on Wednesday, February 21, when the question will be put to councillors, Mr Farrow said: “Decisions made recently in relation to services and assets that the Town Council will take responsibility for over the next two years will result in substantial changes to the levels of responsibility of staff and the complexity of the work being undertaken.

He added that the increased council budget, which has shot up from £560,000 to almost £1 million, means the council may now be considered a ‘large town council’ as opposed to a ‘small town council’ which may call for new pay scales which reflect the responsibilities being onboarded and the size of the authority.

Mr Farrow said: “Budget level is not the sole arbiter of grades but is one consideration alongside the levels of responsibility associated with the roles of the staff. This needs to be assessed against the set criteria.”

Councillors have been asked to authorise a review into town council officer’s pay, and that any recommended salary increases which come about as a result, should be applied from April 1.

The decision will have to pass Wednesday’s policy and resources committee, and then a later meeting of the full council in March, before it can be approved.

The potential rise would come as ratepayers face a 96.4 per cent rise in their council tax to the local authority, which would see the average band D household paying £166.29 in tax to the town council every year.

The extra funds, which will effectively double the town council budget, will be used to take over the town’s public toilets, operate CCTV, pay for park security and assume responsibility in other areas vacated by Somerset Council as a result of a £100 million budget blackhole.