Marie De Sousa's annual rates bill will jump $600 within four years if hefty rate rises proposed by Shellharbour City Council go ahead.
Rates in the city would skyrocket 42 per cent by 2016-17 under the proposal, which would raise millions of dollars to renew or replace the city's ageing infrastructure.
For average households, rates would increase from $976 to $1390, a rise of $414 over four years.
For Mrs De Sousa, who said her Mt Warrigal family would pay about $1400 this year, rates would jump to $1994 in the same period.
"I struggle to pay my rates at the moment," she said.
"We've been hit with electricity hikes and everything else is hiking up to the point that people are struggling to survive.
"If you go putting rates up we're going to be hit with a lot of strife in Shellharbour."
The council is holding a series of workshops with residents, starting this week, to discuss options to improve the city's infrastructure renewal.
No formal rate rise proposal has been presented to the council, which would have to apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for a special rate variation.
According to figures provided by council staff, proposed "moderate" rate rises would raise an extra $8.3 million by 2016-17.
"Small" rises would generate an extra $4.65 million and cost the average ratepayer an extra $285 in four years' time.
"To bring council's buildings and infrastructure renewal ratio closer in line with the state average, an additional amount of just over $8 million is required," a council spokeswoman said.
Details of where the money raised would be spent have not been released.
But the council said it had been approached by community and sporting groups about roads, buildings, sports facilities and canteens.
"What we want to make sure of is that we're on the right track as far as the community's expectations are concerned," Mayor Marianne Saliba said.
"That's why we need to have a discussion with the community first."
Oak Flats resident Russell Drysdale questioned why rate rises were needed.
"With all the blocks of land that have been coming on line . . . at no expense to the council, where's all the money gone?" he asked.
Details of the proposal have emerged as the city's councillors prepare to vote at tonight's council meeting on the business case for the $55 million City Hub project.
Councillor Peter Moran said the organisation was originally "not intending" to release its rates proposal until after the City Hub vote.
If the project went ahead, it would require $600,000 per year to be taken from other council services to fund loan repayments, he argued.
"Council should, I believe, re-prioritise its spending intentions to concentrate on the provision of basic services to the residents," he said.
However, the council spokeswoman said the timing of the two issues was "unrelated".
The possibility of a special rate variation for asset renewal and maintenance had been recommended in the past year and formed part of the long-term financial plan for Shellharbour, she said.