Rates across the Dubbo local government area could be increased by 10 per cent each year for the next four years.
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A decision will be made at the Dubbo Regional Council meeting on Thursday night. It could see the council contact the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for rates to be increased above the suggested amount for four years from 2024/25.
It comes after the council hired AEC Group to undertake an independent financial sustainability review.
The review included recommendations for the council to improve its finances.
"AEC concludes that an improvement in the cash generated from operations is required to an aggregate amount equivalent to a cumulative increase over four years of 37.1 per cent in ordinary rates, above what would otherwise be projected through the annual rate peg (increase in rates) and growth," the AEC recommendation states.
AEC has outlined four ways the council could increase its financial position: identification of operational efficiencies and productivity improvements, reduction in service provision, reduction in debt through the sale of surplus assets and an increase in revenue from operations through increase in service fees, rates and/or charges.
The council has had a net operating deficit - not including capital grant revenue - in the last three of the five financial years. The 2022/23 budget included a net operating result of a $7.8 million deficit, AEC states.
In the report that will be presented to the council on Thursday night, two options have been recommended by the council staff.
The first is for the council to apply for the special rate variation starting in 2024/25, while the second is for it to be delayed until 2025/26.
The delay would allow the council to better inform the public around the potential rate increase above the rate pegging limit.
Each year, IPART sets the rate peg limit, which determines the maximum amount by which councils across the state can increase their rates.
For any council to increase rates above that limit, it has to be approved by IPART.
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