THERE'S no other option but to raise rates in Walcha if the town wants any chance at financial stability, according to the mayor.
On the back of ten negative budgets in the past 14 years, a financial sustainability report has painted a "grim" future that needs "urgent" repair.
Mayor Eric Noakes said the money troubles of the town could be attributed to low rate capping from independent pricing watchdog IPART, natural disasters and budget blowouts for projects that had previously secured grant funding.
"We need to be financially sustainable to move into the future," he said.
The report is pushing council to apply for a special rate variation from IPART after they were handed a rate peg, the maximum amount they can raise rates, of 3.7 per cent for the 2023-24 financial year.
Cr Noakes said this would need to increase to near 56 per cent across the next three years to maintain services to the community.
"Our rates are very low compared to other towns," Cr Noakes said.
"We are already behind the eight ball in the first place."
Cr Noakes said increasing rates by 56 per cent over a number of years, would keep the council just above water.
"We haven't gone for anything above what we need to remain financially sustainable," he said.
"We will just be maintaining the service that we currently do around our roads and infrastructure, it's not to provide more projects."
If council did apply for a special rate variation and it was to be approved by IPART, it would see land rates increase by around 38 per cent in the first year, 8 per cent the next year and then another 7 per cent on top.
But the report indicated in 2016 only 43 per cent of residents were in favour of paying increased rates to help council improve its infrastructure.
Cr Noakes said apart from rates the council had "nowhere else to make money".
"We're tied to what we can make, but we're not tied to what we can spend," he said.
"Council will also be looking at our internal workings and how we can cut costs wherever we can."
A small, ageing and declining population, a large road network and little development interest had also restricted council in generating a revenue.
Walcha Council is seeking community input into the rate rise with surveys available to complete and submit.
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