ARARAT’S Deputy Mayor Glenda McLean has warned fellow councillors that the municipality’s community satisfaction ratings in key areas have declined.
Cr McLean said the council needed to address falling ratings – particularly in the areas of essential services like roads maintenance.
The council’s 2017 survey score was 53 – below the average of 58 for similar rural municipalities.
The worst categories were unsealed roads, informing the community, and consultation and engagement while the best categories were arts and libraries, emergency management and elderly support.
Cr McLean’s comments came during a council meeting item on accepting the Ararat Rural City’s corporate strategy, risk and governance quarterly report.
“I think it’s important that the survey was completed before the budget strategy work, which means it would ensure some results that perhaps were less than cheerful,” she said.
“But this survey again indicates the serious issues around community satisfaction with Ararat Rural City.”
Cr McLean said the municipality was not meeting community expectations.
“We are on a steady road down the tubes,” she said.
“Interestingly, it seems the councillors are doing OK. I would suggest we get a more detailed breakdown of the information and we mount a strategy to improve for the next survey.”
Cr Peter Beales agreed with the suggestion to seek more information about community satisfaction rates.
“Possibly we should also look at the new Census figures,” Cr Beales said.
“For example, there we know there is a much younger population in areas like Lake Bolac and Willaura.”
Mayor Paul Hooper suggested councillors consider adoption the approach of other councils and performing more in-depth surveys.
“It does come at a higher cost but that’s a future discussion that needs to be had,” he said.
The survey results were based on 400 completed interviews in the Ararat municipality between February 1 and March 30.