NSW councils will have to fork out less to run elections next year, but some remain wary of cost shifting which could see rates hiked and services lost.
The state government recently announced a $19.9 million funding splurge which would help reduce the cost of local government elections.
Councils will now only pay the direct costs incurred by the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) in holding elections such as polling booth staff and venues and ballot paper printing.
"The cost per elector for the next local government elections will be $8.21, compared to $12.72 if no government funding contribution was provided," local government minster Shelly Hancock said.
It means councils might be more likely to have the NSWEC run their elections, rather than seeking private contractors for service.
The Liverpool Plains Shire Council recently voted in favour of sticking with the NSWEC with a potential saving of $150,000.
Mayor Andrew Hope said elections could be financially costly for small councils in particular.
The funding announcement was one-off from the state government, so Cr Hope was wary about what it would mean for subsequent council budgets.
"This welcome announcement will provide breathing space for LGNSW and the NSW Government to develop a fairer, more transparent and sustainable long-term solution that can avoid councils having to fund elections by cutting services or reducing infrastructure maintenance," he said.
Cr Hope wanted to see the funding extended into the future.
"Any cost increase will ultimately be worn by the ratepayers, so we will be in further negotiations with the government," he said.
"It's all about cost shifting on to local government," he said.
"It puts us in the hardest position if they put the impost on us, that ultimately means rate rises or lost services.
He said the budget was "fairly fine" and the next council could be lumped with some tough decisions.
"Because of the drought, it is not a good time to be asking for more money," he said.