The "pathetic" rate rise of 1.8 per cent is well under what Wollongong ratepayers really should be paying, according to Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.
At Monday night's council meeting where the public feedback to council's infrastructure delivery plan was discussed, Cr Bradbery said the community had to dial down its expectations.
Cr Bradbery said inflationary pressures were making it hard for council to stretch its $122 million capital works budget to cover what needed to be done.
"I just want to say to the community thank you for your feedback - you're going to be disappointed," Cr Bradbery said.
"There is no way this council can deliver on all those promises and commitments and meet all those expectations.
"We are just dealing with carving up a very small pie in the interests of a community that has great expectations.
"Delivering on them is going to be extremely challenging - and it's going to get worse."
Earlier this month, Wollongong council received approval from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to go above the 0.8 per cent rate increase that body set.
Council was given a 1.8 per cent rise, something Cr Bradbery blasted as "pathetic".
"We were expecting at least 2.5 over the coming years to be able to keep abreast of all the expectations," Cr Bradbery said.
"If we're going to meet the expectations we should be headed north of 4 or even 5 per cent in terms of rate increases.
"But 1.8, it's just nothing really. It's just going to be easily dissipated."
He also blasted IPART for making council staff go "cap in hand" and ask for the small rate rise.
"That is an insult," Cr Bradbery said.
"The effort of our council staff to get that special rate variation for that mingy little amount of money.
"I realise the community's under great stress as well in terms of rate but the challenges that we confront are the expectations of the community.
"We're expected to deliver on a poor, pathetic amount of an increase in a climate where interest rates are going to keep going north as well as inflation."
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