Gunnedah shire's mayor says a "ridiculous increase" in the cost of running local government elections "will not be accepted" by the Country Mayors Association.
Councillor Jamie Chaffey's comments come after the news that the 2020 election could cost Gunnedah Shire Council $100,000 - "more than double" what it cost four years ago.
Cr Chaffey said it was a hot topic at last week's meeting and the association would write a letter to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) about the proposed changes.
The council successfully ran its own elections in 2012 and 2016 at a significant saving but in 2020 will have to pay someone else to do it.
In late June, a new law came into effect that means the council must engage the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) or an electoral services provider to run the vote.
On the same day, IPART released a draft report as part of its review of local government election costs and recommended that councils bear more of the cost of the elections. If adopted by the state government, this means the average bill would go up by more than 60 per cent.
Cr Chaffey said he was "very disappointed" by the recommendation and said it would only serve to cost rural communities.
"I think of the cost burden on the community. I think of the ways we could spend that extra money to improve the lives of the residents of Gunnedah rather than spending it on the election process," he said.
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The mayor said he was "one in a long line" of mayors who wanted to air their concerns at the association meeting, but he didn't get a chance to speak.
"At every opportunity that I've had to speak to an organisation that represents local government ... I've raised the issue and I can tell you that the feeling is unanimous throughout local government in NSW that the increased costs for running the election simply is not accepted anywhere.
"So everyone welcomes the IPART review and while submissions have been made, it's my hope that common sense will prevail and this burden on the communities throughout NSW on such a ridiculous increase in costs cannot be accepted, and will not be accepted.
"What I'm hoping will be an outcome of the IPART review is ... more options, and more cost-effective options available to local government than the current options."
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