Northland ratepayers have told Kaipara district councillors they will ruin the district if they inflict an average rate rise of 31%.
The council is attempting to tackle an $80 million debt by putting up rates and sewerage levies, to service loans for a sewerage scheme at Mangawhai.
Under its formula rate bills in Mangawhai will double to up to $5000.
Resident Mike Newman told a council hearing in Mangawhai that the increase would mean the difference between modest comfort and penury for elderly people.
Kaipara District Mayor Neil Tiller has said the council is likely to revise the plan.