New South Wales' most cash-strapped councils have put in their bids for the right to hike their rates beyond normal levels.

More than 20 councils across the state have applied to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for permission to charge ratepayers more than the 3.4 per cent rate level set by the authority.

Cobar Shire Council in far western NSW wants to hike its rates by more than seven times that.

Cobar Mayor Lillian Brady says the rate increase is necessary to pay the council's debt.

Ms Brady says the council has $3 million of debt after building a swimming pool and doing up the town's centre.

"Yes it is a lot and we're broke," she said.

"We're an isolated town, we're a mining town and to bring miners and doctors and teachers to Cobar you have to have good facilities."

She says around 60 per cent of ratepayers voted in favour of the huge hike in order to maintain services.