Tamworth council has voted yes on a proposal to increase Tamworth's rates by 36.3 per cent across the next two years.
"We have to bite the bullet, we have to do what is responsible for our community in the longer term," Tamworth mayor Russell Webb said.
Mark Rodda and Steve Mears were the only councillors voting against the proposal.
Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) will now submit its case for the rate increase to the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) by February 2024.
If IPART gives the go ahead, Tamworth's residential and business rates will rise 18.5 per cent from July 1, 2024, and 15 per cent from July 1, 2025.
The decision was met with boos from the larger-than-usual audience at council's latest meeting.
Earlier, members of the public spoke to councillors imploring them against the decision.
"Council has failed to demonstrate the community's need for a 36.3 per cent increase, failed to adequately inform the community by not providing realistic expenditure scenarios, failed to demonstrate a history of sufficient productivity and cost containment strategies, and failed to maintain its current assets," resident Lorenzo Strano said.
A community campaign called 'Figure it out TRC' has started a petition against the rate rise which will also be submitted to IPART.
The petition has gathered more than 3000 signatures so far.