Kiama Municipal Council spent almost $2 million defending itself in court over the last financial year - a massive spike compared the previous year.
In the council's recently released 2022-23 annual report it lists 14 legal proceedings - six of which are ongoing.
The legal bill for the last financial year sits at $1.7 million, substantially above the 2021-22 total of $484,916 - a jump of more than 250 per cent.
A huge chunk of the latest bill is $1.2 million that has gone into defending a federal court case brought by developer Nicolas Daoud over his plans for the formerly council-owned land in Akuna Street.
There were plans to place an Aldi supermarket and an apartment block at the site but the council's proposed sale of the site to Mr Daoud fell through in 2018 when conditions on the sale weren't met.
The site in question was sold to developer Level 33 in late 2022 for $28 million.
This case is one of six that is ongoing, which means the way is open in any of those for the council to be awarded costs in a verdict.
Eight of the legal proceedings in 2022-23 were in the Land and Environment Court and related to refusals of development applications.
This included $85,000 spent defending a refusal for two houses - each with its own swimming pool - on a property at Crooked River Road, Gerroa.
KIama Mayor Neil Reilly said council had recently changed the approval process to delegate authority for a wider range of development applications to staff rather than having councillors themselves voting on whether to accept or refuse them.
"That means that developments are being assessed and either approved or not by people trained in that particular area of land use planning," Cr Reilly said.
"While councillors have a pretty good working knowledge of what's acceptable and what's not acceptable we are no match for those who have been trained and have had a working lifetime's experience in planning and planning decision making."
In terms of the spending on legal advice and court action, Cr Reilly said the funds were allocated in several sections of the budget under various council departments.
There are no in-house lawyers at the council; rather there is a panel of lawyers approved by the Office of Local Government that the council can call on depending on their specialities.
Cr Reilly said it was inevitable that there would be some instances where the council ended up in court.
"Council has to do whatever it must do to defend its actions however expensive it is," he said.
"I know this can easily get out of hand but the reputational damage done to council if we don't have good advice and make good decisions, puts into perspective that we need to pay professionals to give us professional advice."
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