Ratepayers say Tamworth council should pump the brakes and have a "proper conversation" with the community on its proposal to increase rates by 36.3 per cent across the next two years.
But the Tamworth Regional Residents and Ratepayers Association (TRRRA) is calling the council's decision "premature" and demanding additional transparency and communication.
"The community is angry about the rate rise, the lack of appropriate community consultation and communication from the TRC," the association wrote in a letter to council's general manager.
The ratepayer's association also has qualms with the community consultation, saying it was quick, poorly organised, and confusing.
State regulator IPART will seek its own community feedback and invite public submissions in early 2024.
TRRRA has started a petition against the proposed rate increase which has garnered more than 3000 signatures.
The association's treasurer Stephen Maher told the Leader the organisation would submit the petition to IPART.
"I think there is justification for putting up a proposal for a rate rise, but it needs to be a conversation with the community," Mr Maher said.
"There needs to be a conversation about why they want to do it, what the plans are, where the money's going to be spent, where savings are going to be made, and we need more options in terms of what a rate rise might be."
Mr Maher understands council's costs are increasing, but thinks ratepayers should have a chance to make a meaningful impact on the local government's spending priorities.
"I'm not necessarily saying they should be making cuts, I'm only asking how an increase of this size can emerge so suddenly," Mr Maher said.
"There's an issue of poor communication with the community, and probably a lack of transparency."
The treasurer also spoke to councillors directly at their latest meeting.
"[These examples] call into question the reliance that ratepayers can place on council's actions," he said to councillors.
Mr Maher's concerns were referenced by councillors later in the meeting.
Deputy mayor Judy Coates added an amendment to the SRV proposal to "continue with regular formal and informal communication" with the community to answer any ongoing questions.
"Until I became a councillor, I like many had a very limited understanding of how local government works and the state and federal constraints that impact on those operations," she said.
"I can understand the confusion, the anxiety, the confusion, and the frustration around council speaking of needing a special rate variation."
But some residents say such an initiative is too little too late.
"Why would we have more conversations when nothing comes of what ratepayers say? I say bring on the election," a ratepayer who asked to not be named told the Leader.