Tenterfield Shire Council and the chair of the local ratepayers association have held talks about improving communication as the council faces a budget shortfall.
Councillors will be encouraged to attend the meetings of the Tenterfield Ratepayers Association, mayor Bronwyn Petrie told the Star.
It comes after a meeting was held last week between Peter Robinson, chair of the Tenterfield Ratepayers group, the mayor and council's general manager Daryl Buckingham.
"Peter went for a tour through the building to see that there was no gymnasium, no baristas, no $30,000 coffee machine, no sleep rooms," Cr Petrie said, referring to some of the incorrect rumours of council spending.
Meanwhile, Mr Robinson said he was amazed at the misinformation after meeting with the council leaders.
"There does seem to be a way out, opening communications," he said.
The council is facing an annual budget shortfall of $3.8m, and had discussed increasing rates by as much as 80 per cent.
While that will not be happening in the next financial year, the council has had to consider cutting costs, as they are prevented from increasing rates by more than 0.7 per cent for 2022-23.
The ratepayers held a meeting last month to discuss options to help the council, which lead to last week's meeting.
At an extraordinary meeting in February the council had to consider a recommendation to dramatically increase rates for the 2022-23 financial year, as well as 2023-24, if it wanted to apply for a special rate variation.
Instead an amendment from deputy mayor John Macnish to hold off for 2022-23, and ask its CEO for options for 2023-34, was passed unanimously.
The options will look at what council services are impacted by not getting the increased revenue.
Mr Robinson said the monthly ratepayers' meetings would allow questions to be put directly to counillors, and get answers.
Cr Petrie said the meeting last week was also an opportunity for the ratepayers to gain an insight into council's financial situation.
"We spoke about cost cutting and some of the savings that have already been put in place and the impact on services with no rate increase," Cr Petrie said.
Council is open and transparent, the mayor said, but added that the information can be hard to locate on the council's website.
The council held 10 meetings around the shire recently, which provided the councillors with feedback from residents about services.
"It was clear the roads were the number one priority for people," Cr Petrie said, adding that there was some consternation about reduced services for roads over the next 12 months.
"Unfortunately, because roads are 80 per cent of our budget, that's where we're going to take a hit if we don't increase rates," she said.
Submissions closed on Monday after the council sought the community's views on the council's 10-year strategic plan, its four-year delivery plan and one-year operational plan.
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