Cumbria County Council bosses say they face 10 years of borrowing and increased costs to fund predicted equal pay claims from workers.
In its latest budget, the authority says it will have almost £30m available by April 2008 to fund expected payouts.
Cumbria County Council is among several authorities facing hefty bills to pay for equal pay settlements involving care workers, cleaners and cooks.
Unions say the settlements will involve thousands of mostly female staff.
A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: "Our budget continues to take into account the potential settlement implications of employment tribunal judgements on equal pay and equal value claims from county council employees.
"The precise amount the council must pay out is still unknown, but the council will have set aside £29.5m by April 2008 to help cover its past liabilities and future costs.
"This budget adds a further £11m in 2008/9.
"The savings to cover equal pay/value claims may need to be maintained for each of the next 10 years to cover the cost of borrowing and other increased costs."
The exact financial implications of the "enormously complicated legal process" are still unclear, according to the local authority.