Council Takes Action on Satisfaction Survey Results
Friday, 23 August, 2019 - 09:45
Council focuses on actions it will take to improve relationships with residents and ratepayers.
Mayor, Cr Harry Westendorp said the decline in Council’s overall direction and performance rating in the annual Community Satisfaction survey needed to be addressed.
“What we have been hearing from the community is that they don’t have enough information on what we are doing and they feel we haven’t been listening to them. This is reflected in the survey results, which are based on 400 responses or 4.7% of residents. As part of our plans to improve relationships with our communities, we allocated funds in the budget to employ a part-time communications officer this year. We will also develop a community engagement strategy which will apply to all aspects of council business,” Cr Westendorp said.
“One of the areas the survey results highlighted was Decisions made in the interest of the community. Our rating for this went down from 54/100 last year to 47 this year. The statewide average score for small rural councils in this category was 55 this year, so we have some ground to make up. A communications and community engagement focus will help us with this,” he said.
Council’s town planning and planning permit service were also rated lower than in previous years. While the average time for processing planning applications has improved, from taking 83 days down to 63 days, permit numbers and resourcing levels continue to be a challenge.
“This year we will start the consultation process to review our planning scheme. This will give residents an opportunity to understand the planning frameworks and provide input into future land use laws,” Cr Westendorp said.
“While we have some work to do to improve our relationships with the community, we were delighted to see that residents highly rated the appearance of public areas, libraries and our emergency/disaster management. Each of these returned scores over 70/100. Elderly support and family support services were also highly regarded with a score of 69/100 each.”
Council’s score for advocacy also went down despite lobbying on a range of needs. Last year Council received $3.4m toward a dual court indoor sports stadium from the Australian government, $600,000 toward facility upgrades at Mansfield Kindergarten, $100,000 for the Station Precinct Master Plan and supported Goulburn Murray Water’s successful bid for funding to upgrade the Hutchinsons Road boat ramp.