TAMWORTH council will push forward with its application for a rate rise to make up for lost revenue, after the historically low peg set by pricing watchdog IPART.
Councillors unanimously supported the move to apply for a single-year Additional Special Variation of 1.3 per cent, bringing the total rate peg to two per cent.
Council has been basing its forward financial planning on a two per cent rise, but last year IPART set its rate peg to just 0.7 per cent, leaving council with a shortfall of more than $500,000.
Cr Helen Tickle slammed IPART, claiming it had failed regional NSW with water pricing, and had failed again now.
"It's a citycentric body which has based it's 0.7 per cent on population which leaves us high and dry in the country," she said.
"We have 3000 kilometres of roads to maintain, 2000 of which are unsealed."
Cr Bede Burke said the move was "fair and equitable" and would save council from having to make some serious cuts.
"It will have an ongoing cumulative impact on our capacity as a council to be able to raise the revenues that we need to pay the staff - and it's my understanding that staff is our biggest cost in this organization," he said.
If approved by IPART, on average, it would mean a $1.60 weekly rate rise for residents and $3.72 for businesses.
It's a cost that residents just can't afford right now, according to Tamworth Ratepayers Association president David McKinnon.
"The claim of course is, if we don't get the rate rise we'll cut services - well you're already cutting services," he said.
"You've cut bulk goods, you're talking now about red bins, other charges now are all going up, water is going up and the tip fees are going up," he said.
"I just think that it has to be considered that we live in a time when we have a significant number of people who are on fixed income."
Cr Phil Betts said it was imperative that council shows leadership, and think of the benefits in the long term.
"I know it's a bit of a blow, a big blow for some people, but it is essential that we do it for the future growth, maintaining and liveability of this council," he said.
Councillors Russell Webb, Brooke Southwell and Marc Sutherland were absent from the meeting.
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