Requests for help are starting to flow from Warrnambool residents struggling with the costs of paying their council rates.
Ratepayers were given a reprieve this year when the city council decided not to pass on the full rate rise, but there has already been 15 applications for hardship after notices recently landed in letterboxes.
A council spokesman said it was only early days, signalling there could be more people that seek help.
Last year, 34 applications for hardship were made.
About 15 people have also requested to have their properties revalued which determines how much they pay in rates.
Warrnambool Ratepayers Association president Joan Kelson said it had given out "quite a few" forms for people who were going to apply for property revaluations.
The average rate bill rose to $2220.78 but that was $9 less than first proposed in May's draft budget.
Instead of the 3.5 per cent increase allowed under the state government-imposed rate cap, rates only went up 2.95 per cent.
Mrs Kelson said the cost of living was hitting residents hard.
"You've only got to look at the food agencies. They've got unprecedented demand for people looking for food parcels," she said.
"There's no doubt people are doing it tough."
The council this year increased its hardship rebate from $200 to $250 which councillors said was a "genuine gesture" to help, stressing ratepayers didn't need a healthcare card to qualify.
IN OTHER LOCAL NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.