LAKE Macquarie councillors have requested to take a financial skills course before the next budget is delivered in March.
The request came after council staff unveiled the most recent budget, which revealed a $27 million deficit for this financial year.
This was a $13 million blowout on the council's projection.
Council finance manager Ross Gilshenan said the $13 million discrepancy was due to government grants not matching up with works being completed in the same financial year.
The deficit is the result of a $9 million federal financial assistance grant and a $2 million grant for Wyee Sewer Supply, which were received last financial year for works to be undertaken this financial year, and the carrying forward of $1.4 million worth of works that were not completed last financial year.
He said the rest of the deficit was made up of a number of minor variances.
This year the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal decided to knock back the council's plans to increase residential rates by 70 per cent over the next seven years, instead allowing a 55 per cent increase.
Business rates will increase by 71 per cent.
Cr Daniel Wallace said it was important the newly elected councillors understood the process in prioritising works, such as footpath upgrades, if public requests for repairs were made.
He requested the councillors be offered a financial skills course before March.
General manager Brian Bell supported the councillor's request.