Kempsey Shire Council has chosen its preferred option for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to address its forecast deficit.
Of the three options put to ratepayers, increases of 85 per cent and 94 per cent have been ruled out.
The forecast deficit over the next 10 years has also been revised down, from $103m to $79m.
Community feedback, along with an investigation into council's financial sustainability, has resulted in a recommended increase of 42.7 per cent.
Councillors will decide whether to approve an application for an SRV of that amount at their Ordinary Meeting on November 21.
Ratepayers though say the lower amount is not low enough, and an SRV of any size is not an acceptable solution to the predicted deficit.
A public forum will be held on November 20, one day before councillors meet, to discuss the recommended SRV.
"What's facing the councillors at the November meeting is not a decision on whether to raise the rates, it's about whether to make an application to IPART [the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal]," said Stephen Mitchell, Director Corporate and Commercial.
"If that application was successful, council's decision on setting the rates will not be made until June 2024."
The 42.7 per cent would be cumulative over a three-year period and would include the rate peg.
"The recommendation to apply for an SRV of 42.7 per cent over three years would address the revised deficit and mean council would be financially sustainable."
In 2024-25, the rise would be limited to 7.9 per cent followed by 15 per cent in 2025-26 and 2026-27.
Council's report stated this will have an impact of less than $2 a week for the average residential ratepayer in the first year of implementation and would give council more time to identify additional savings and support from other levels of government.
"It is a difficult position to acknowledge that despite the community rejection of an SRV we still have a forecast deficit of $79 million over the next 10 years."
Organiser of the community group "Figure it Out KSC", Kyle Arnott, has responded to the Business Papers released on November 14, saying council has not listened to ratepayers and that going ahead with a recommendation to apply for an SRV is "going against everything [the group has] put foreword."
"They're just going to go ahead with this 42.7 per cent, regardless of how we're feeling," said Mr Arnott. "Basically, [council] hasn't listened to us at all."
The group recently submitted a petition to the council opposing a special rate rise of any kind.
"Even after we've come to them with 9000 signatures...they've blatantly ignored nearly a third of the population [of Kempsey Shire]."
Mr Arnott says the 42.7 per cent rise in rates is not realistic and "not good enough."
"Anything over the peg at this point is insanity."
A peg is the maximum percentage a council can increase its general income for the year.
Both the public forum on Monday November 21 and the ordinary meeting on Tuesday, November 21, will be held at the Majestic Cinema in Kempsey Central, to accommodate the large number of attendees expected.
Anyone wanting to speak at the Public Forum needs to register between before Friday, November 17, using the form on council's website.
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