THEY rarely saw eye to eye during their time in the council chamber, but former Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie and ex-councillor Geoff Dingle are among hundreds who have lined up against plans for a rate rise.
A Newcastle Herald analysis of submissions found the vast majority of submissions implored the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to refuse the application.
The two former political opponents are among more than 680 people who made submissions on the plan to raise rates by 7.5 per cent each year for seven years.
Mr MacKenzie appealed to IPART chief executive Hugo Harmstorf for an in-person meeting.
"I do not believe there is anyone [more] qualified in Port Stephens to state the case against a rate rise," he said. "I have lived in Port Stephens the whole of my life and wherever I go I hear objections to the rate variation."
Mr Dingle's submission described the proposal as "both excessive and not justified".
"Port Stephens Council should go back out and consult with its community about their infrastructure needs, then prepare infrastructure plans for each of its 13 major residential communities," Mr Dingle wrote.
More than 500 submissions argued against the proposal for reasons ranging from financial hardship, the availability of funding from other sources and the authors' perceived lack of benefit from the projects the money is earmarked to fund.
One anonymous submission, purportedly from a charity worker, argued the rise would "heap more strain on household finance as well as relationships and mental health".
Only 14 of more than 500 submissions made public supported the proposal in the form put forward to IPART for approval. Roughly 100 remain confidential.
One supporter argued the council had not "been prepared sufficiently for the future under previous administrations".
"While these increases will cause some pain to others, it is important that we act now and implement bold visions for our region, which cost money," the anonymous submission states.
IPART has previously confirmed that a "record number" of submissions were lodged this year.
Port Stephens' tally substantially exceeds the 242 submissions made on Lithgow Council's rate variation application and the 120 made on Dungog's rate rise proposal.
No other council cracked 100 submissions this year.
IPART will hand down its decisions next month.