Griffith mayor Doug Curran has cautiously welcomed the NSW government's aspiration to remove the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) from council's rates system.
Last week NSW Premier Chris Minns announced a decision to review the way the ESL is collected.
Currently the state's 128 councils provide 11.7 per cent of the finances that fund emergency services like Fire and Rescue, the RFS and the SES.
The funds are collected through council rates, with the ESL a prime factor in council endorsing the recent special rate variation.
According to Cr Curran, this year's bill was a $233,000 unbudgeted slog.
"Some councils actually had their budgets wiped out by the ESL so it has a huge impact on all councils financial sustainability," he said.
NSW is the only mainland state that uses a levy on insurers to fund emergency services.
Premier Chris Minns admitted reforming the ESL won't be easy but it is the right thing to do.
"For too long this has been in the too hard basket for NSW. But as we face the threat of more natural disasters, we have a significant opportunity to make the system fairer and more sustainable for the future," he said.
President of Local Government NSW Cr Darriea Turley said a review of the levy collection methodology was long overdue.
"Councils have been shouldering the burden of the increased cost of emergency services for too long," Cr Turley said.
"This has made it incredibly difficult for councils to budget and provide the services ratepayers expect.
"Collecting the levy via council rates has to stop."
But while appreciating the Premier sentiments, she noted there being no mention as of yet about decoupling the levy from rates - which costs councils to collect and are not able to be levied on all types of land.
"I hope this was just an oversight and not an indication council rates will continue to be cannibalised by the levy," she said.
Cr Curran shares those concerns.
"Well, the Premiers right - the current system is broken, but I'm also in agreement with Cr Turley - what's the fix going to be? " he said.
"I'm very confident they can fix it, but my worry is they will get local government to step in and I don't think its a role for local government to play.
"I am genuinely concerned this will be a further cost to councils and a separate line item on people's rates notices."
Cr Curran says he would like to see direct consultation between council's by the state government, but admitted he isn't confident that will happen.
"We always appreciate consultation but we know it doesn't always happen," he said.
"But I very much would like to see - I think it would be a worthy opportunity."
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