New general manager Gary Murphy is hitting the plains, confident he has the skills to tackle a looming financial threat.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council's revenue could fall by $1.2 million over the next two years if their application to extend an eight per cent special rate variation is rejected.
The council applied to independent pricing watchdog IPART to make the rate increase permanent in November and are anxiously awaiting a decision.
"The frustrating thing is we normally would've heard from IPART by now, but we've got to adopt our budget before the 30th of June," Mr Murphy said on his third day on the job.
He said if the permanent variation is not approved, council could be forced to restrict spending on services which could include road maintenance, swimming pools, and child care facilities.
"If they don't agree with it, that's going to cause some pain for us and we're going to have to talk to the community about what that means," Mr Murphy said.
But even in the worst-case scenario, mayor Doug Hawkins said he's confident Mr Murphy will be up to the task.
"I'm really confident now with Gary at the helm and with the team he'll put together," Cr Hawkins said.
"I judge people pretty quickly, but I don't miss very often. My judgment of Gary was made early on and so far it's proved to be correct."
After three months of chopping and changing between acting and interim general managers, Mr Murphy took over as general manager of Liverpool Plains Shire Council on May 16.
Early on he promised listening to locals would be his top priority, and now that he's settling in he says he's more excited than ever to "get out and meet members of the community".
"It's about engagement and communication. The mayor's radio spot is a good start and I think there's more we can do to engage with the local community," Mr Murphy said.
Mr Murphy has 30 years of experience in regional governments including the Warrumbungle, Central Coast, Lismore and Buller District councils.
He said he wanted to come to the Liverpool Plains because of the "genuine nature" of the community and because he likes the challenge of being part of a smaller council.
"I firmly believe that smaller councils are bigger challenges than larger councils. If you've got a council with a couple-hundred million dollar budget and you miss a million, it's no big deal. But If you miss $1 million here, we could go bankrupt," Mr Murphy said.
With big projects like the Quipolly Dam, rail upgrades at Werris Creek, and a new swimming pool for Quirindi on council's agenda, there are quite a few challenges for Mr Murphy to dive into.