The "insidious constant" of cost shifting now costs Port Macquarie-Hastings Council around $16m for the current financial year.
That's an increase of some $2m per year - or the equivalent of council's entire rural roads budget.
Cost shifting is the ongoing transfer of responsibilities from the federal and state governments to local councils without appropriate or matching funding.
In council's case these responsibilities include the Dennis Bridge and the stretch of the now by-passed highway.
Cost shifting was a hot topic for discussion at council's February meeting.
Cr Geoff Hawkins described the agenda item on cost shifting as a "great report with some interesting stuff in it".
"There is general support for a better understanding on cost shifting (for the community)," he said.
Cr Mike Cusato said: "We are wasting our time on cost shifting."
The general manager Craig Swift-McNair said cost shifting is raised on a regular basis with state and federal governments.
"We need to get a broader understanding of what cost shifting is," Mr Swift-McNair said.
"Council raised cost shifting during a December meeting with Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams and state treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
"The treasurer was visibly stunned by the level of cost shifting we are experiencing.
"But, when he left, he didn't leave a cheque," the general manger said.
When he left, he didn't leave a cheque.Craig Swift-McNair
"It has been a bit like flogging a dead horse, but more and more councils are now coming on board (raising their concerns).
"Cost shifting is an insidious constant that is hurting our sustainability," the general manager said.
Acting mayor Lisa Intemann said council first started looking at the impacts of cost shifting in around 2012. Two years later the figure was put at $8m.
"The problem is, we are not getting a corresponding increase in the level of grants and funding coming back through the state or federal government," she said.
"Granted, we do get more than that from the other levels of government.
"But these higher levels of government have a responsibility to support councils in road funding, project funding and capital funding.
"Cost shifting is eroding that so the value of what is coming to us is about half of what it should be," she said.
Cr Intemann said council is being handed more roads and bridges to look after.
"This is a one-sided relationship and is a disadvantage to the community," she added.
For the year ended June 30, 2018, council received a total of $21.3m in grants - $15.5m in operating and $5.8m in capital. This included $10.9m in financial grants and pensioner rate subsidy allocations.
This is compared to an annual operating expenditure budget of $154.4m and an annual capital works program of $112.6m for the 2017/18 financial year.
Council has written to Mrs Williams, minister for roads Melinda Pavey, federal MPs Luke Hartsuyker and Dr David Gillespie and LGNSW on cost shifting.
So far, responses have been received form Mrs Williams and Mr Hartsuyker.
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