Tough decisions will have to be made to get Dubbo Regional Council back to a strong financial position, says new mayor Mathew Dickerson.
In November, council's chief executive officer Murray Wood said the organisation was "asset rich and cash poor" due to the financial strain of COVID-19.
Mr Wood said the budget in the coming years would be under "significant duress".
Cr Dickerson said there would always be people and community groups hoping they could get council funding, but it wasn't always possible.
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"There have been some losses we've got to recover from, and there's a whole range of reasons for that. We've got to make sure we recover those, make sure we fill any infrastructure backlogs we might have going forward and really make sure we leave the council in a better financial position than when we started," he said.
If we don't have the money to build something we need to say 'we don't have the money to build it'. It's harsh reality and it's not nice - you don't get any points for not cutting the ribbon on something - but you want to make sure the community has got an asset council that's financially sound going forward."
Deputy mayor Richard Ivey also acknowledged the tough financial situation council was in.
"I'm sure there's no magical answers, they would have been thought of before, but it's just a matter of the council getting an appreciation of the issues, working with the staff, and just seeing that we can't make it a better place," he said.
Overall, Cr Dickerson said one of his main goals for the coming term of council was to build trust back in the community.
He plans to do that by ensuring council is better at communicating with the community.
"Sometimes I think councils in general aren't always forthcoming with decisions that have been made," the mayor said.
"If I could use a really simple example, many years ago, when I was mayor previously, we had an Apex Oval project that was over time and over budget and I'm saying to the media team at the time 'we need to get a media release out about that'.
"You can imagine they're saying 'you don't put out a media release about being over time and over budget, are you crazy?'. But yes, we do. Because it's not my Apex Oval, it's not council's, it's the community's.
"We tell the community what happened... You make sure you're transparent in those processes."
Cr Ivey said council was the "heartbeat of the area" and the newly-elected councillors needed to get in and make sure it was functioning well.
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