Mayor Abb McAlister is optimistic that Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) can avoid having to pay an extra $96,000 for emergency services.
Cr McAlister said mayors throughout NSW were opposed to the extra levy, imposed on councils unexpectedly to cover the costs of improved workers compensation for firefighters diagnosed with any of 12 specific work-related cancers.
The charge was imposed well after councils had prepared their budgets for the 2019-20 financial year, and put them on display.
If it goes ahead, councils will have to raise extra funds and/or cut community services and initiatives.
Cr McAlister said that while NSW councils supported improved workers compensation for firefighters arising from new laws passed in November, opposition to the charges was unanimous at a recent meeting of the Country Mayors Association he attended in Sydney.
"The country mayors supported Local Government NSW in its request to the government for the contribution increases to be deferred for at least 12 months," he said.
"It amazes me that we weren't involved in any of the negotiations when this was discussed prior to Christmas, and it didn't come out until after the election."
NSW councils were sent bills in May, with a letter informing them their contributions would increase by $19 million in 2019-20.
CGRC received an invoice for $505,000 for its emergency services levy contribution, $96,000 more than last year's levy, and an increase of 23%.
Not only has the government imposed the new levy, it has altered the split whereby the insurance industry pays 75% of emergency services levies, with the government and councils sharing the remaining 25%, each paying 12.5%.
Cr McAlister said the new split would be 80% from insurance, 6% from government and 14% from councils.
"If we've got to suffer 14% and the government is only suffering 6%, why weren't we involved in those initial talks? I think it's wrong."
The member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, said yesterday she had listened to very strong views from all nine councils in the electorate at last month's Cootamundra Summit, and understood the increase had come at a time when council budgets had been set.
"It's come as a shock to many councils and I intend to discuss it with all relevant government ministers."