'UNFAIR, ridiculous and paltry' are the words local leaders used to describe the rate cap for the new financial year.
While ratepayers might rejoice over the 0.7 per cent rate rise, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Russell Webb said residents could expect to miss out on services with the rate peg usually being set between 2.5 and 2.7 per cent.
"I know everyone wants to have lesser rates but we also want to have good services," Cr Webb said.
"We've now got to find ways of cutting the budget and cutting things out of the budget which will mean an impact on some services."
Independent pricing watchdog IPART announced the amount councils can increase rate revenue by will also depend on population growth.
It's great news for metropolitan councils, but for those with larger areas averaging lower growth rates - like Tamworth which has been assigned no growth rate at all, Cr Webb called for some common sense from IPART and the state government.
"Consistently the demographers within state government have said 'no you're not growing'," he said.
"It's just not true.
"We've written a letter to IPART and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) explaining our frustration and the problematic situation we'll step into if we don't get better increases into the future."
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has also demanded a better deal for the bush after giving notice of a motion in state parliament condemning the IPART determination and urging the body to reconsider.
Mr Marshall said regional councils who have been deemed ineligible for the growth rate are being discriminated against and starved for revenue.
"This is a savage blow to our region's local councils' ability to deliver the services and infrastructure expected by their ratepayers and residents," Mr Marshall said.
Under the 0.7 per cent rise Armidale Regional Council is expected to increase rate revenue by $131,000 in the next financial year, covering only a quarter of the wage bill which will spike by $485,000.
Gwydir Shire will only see an additional revenue of $58,000, in comparison to the $295,000 in additional wage costs.
"This is the lowest rate peg in two decades and IPART must go back and look at how the determination will impact the health of regional communities, then adjust the rate accordingly," Mr Marshall said.
Mr Marshall said if no progress was made he would be asking the Minister for Local Government to "fix this broken system".
"The sad thing is it's rural people who will suffer when cuts have to be made to vitals services, community grants and infrastructure delivery, just so councils can keep their lights on," he said.
Opposition local government spokesperson Greg Warren has backed Mr Marshall's calls and is urging the Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman to intervene.
"It's clear that this government is no friend of the local government sector," Mr Warren said.
"Mr Marshall urged the Minister to intervene and ensure a better deal for bush councils.
"But I would go one step further and call on the Minister to provide a fair and just deal for all 128 councils throughout NSW."
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson remained silent on the issue and is yet to make a formal statement about the rate peg.
Cr Webb said he was currently undertaking extensive research of the impact of the rate peg which he hoped to personally present to the deputy premier.
"It's very unfair and it does have a negative impact," he said.
"He needs to know what's going on and I want to be the one to give it to him."
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