STAFF and councillors believe there was enough community consultation during its bid to increase business rates as part of its controversial events levy.
Nevertheless, it will be back to the drawing board as the council considers how it will fund, subsidise and bid for new events in the future, after the state's rate-raising umpire rejected an additional slug on businesses.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) quashed the application, highlighting the lack of community awareness about the scheme and its effects.
"It was apparent that the majority of business ratepayers were not aware of the extent of the special variation and its impact, which was primarily communicated in various information sessions," IPART chairman Paul Paterson said.
Tamworth Regional Council indicated on Monday it would go back to IPART for more detail on this shortcoming in the application.
Mayor Col Murray said he found the feedback hard to believe.
"With all of the publicity and promotion and assistance of the media, I find it hard to imagine the community feel they didn't have opportunity for consultation," Cr Murray told the Leader.
While the council will have to wait until next year to apply for another rate rise through IPART, the mayor said there would be discussion about how events could be supported in the city into the future.
He said the decision could affect applications from bodies seeking financial support from the council for events.
"It's absolutely inevitable future applications will be impacted by this decision," he said.
"The councillors are all fairly understanding we just can't keep pulling money from the hat.
"We want to support events, but the reality is the funds have to come from somewhere.
"The lemon's nearly squeezed dry."
The council's director of governance, Chris Weber, emphasised the IPART rejection would serve as a "learning experience".
"The positive out of this .. is that we are still able to operate business as usual," Mr Weber said.
"We will still be able to deliver great services and good events for the region."
He said it was too early in the piece to say whether the council would pursue another rate rise, or look to create the funding pool by taking from other council budgets.
Meanwhile, director of business and community John Sommerlad refuted the assertion the council was out of touch.
This summation was despite IPART ruling there was insufficient awareness in the Tamworth regional community about the rate rise and a general sense of objection amongst the people who were in the know.
"You have got to look at it in its entirety, if you have a look at the number of public submissions, for the Tamworth proposal it is significantly less than public submission for every other determination that IPART has been asked to make.
"I think there was only 14 public submissions.
"Every opinion counts, but I think council goes about telling the public what it wants to do."
Business chamber president Jye Segboer conceded it might not have been the right time for the events levy given the current climatic and economic conditions in the region.
However, he stopped short of echoing the chief criticism from IPART which claimed the community was not sufficiently aware of the proposed rate hike and its implications.
Mr Segboer said there was "probably close to 40 consultation meetings" but suggested the community dialogue should have been carried out over a prolonged period of time.
"I think given the current severity of the drought and the length of it, which no-one foresaw 18 months ago when council first flagged the levy, was a big part of the decision," he said.
Mark Rodda was the only Tamworth councillor to vote against the levy at an extraordinary meeting earlier this year and he was "ecstatic for the community and businesses" following the decision.
"There were clearly businesses throughout most of our communities that wouldn't have derived a benefit from it, to them it was just an impost," Cr Rodda said.
"My feedback was the same relied upon by IPART, that the community felt consultation was inadequate and the timing of sessions disadvantaged many businesses that could not attend the relevant consultation events due to work commitments."