Horsham residents have handed the council a damning report card, with Mayor Mark Radford saying that councillors had "not worked well together during this term".
The score from 400 randomly selected Horsham Rural City Council residents in the annual Local Government Satisfaction Survey for 2020 showed a drop in satisfaction of 10 points to 45 from 2019.
It continued a deteriorating trend since 2016, when the score was 63.
Consultation and engagement had suffered the most and was also the most frequently cited area that residents said council needed to improve upon, the report said.
The report said that council needed to demonstrate that it had the interests of residents in mind and consulted with residents on relevant matters.
Horsham Rural City Council Mayor Mark Radford said the results were disappointing.
"The councillors have made a genuine commitment to work for the community to create a better municipality, but it is no secret that the councillor group have not worked well together during this term," Cr Radford said.
"This has been reflected in the council chamber, the local media and the way that the council is viewed by many people in our community.
"The survey results are a call to action. A plan will be put in place to work toward a better result."
HRCC's ranking of 45 put it significantly lower than the state average of 58 and regional centres average of 56, with the index scores out of 100.
Overall council direction dropped from 47 to 35, to reach its lowest level since 2012.
Sealed roads, consultation and engagements and community decisions were the three areas where council's performance was significantly lower by the widest margin.
The council was rated in seven core area including overall performance, customer service, community consultation and engagement, sealed roads, advocacy, overall council direction and making decisions in the community's interests.
All showed significant falls, except for customer service which maintained its rating of 61 in the survey, which was conducted in February and March by an independent research company.
The report said the council needed to rethink its relationship with the community, stating that "moving forward, it will be important to rebuild positive perceptions of council among residents and demonstrate that council is once again moving in the right direction".
Cr Radford said despite the survey results, there were many good things happening in the council.
"Extra efforts are being made to engage with our community," he said.
"The current Draft Council Budget is open for feedback and I encourage people to read what is proposed and lodge a submission," he said.
Chief Executive Officer Sunil Bhalla said council had already began working on changes to meet the community's "evolving expectations".
"Our result includes a decline in six of the seven core measures and the remaining measure, customer service, received the same score as last year," Mr Bhalla said.
"We accept the results, which represent a snapshot in time, and we will focus on the areas where our community would like to see improvement."
Mr Bhalla said that council had many commitments to deliver on and the community was demanding it do better in a number of areas.
"Leading up and during the survey period council was listening and responding to a number of contentious issues, both within the council chamber and in the community, " he said
"This may provide some explanation behind the results."
He said it "was" imperative the council look at the survey in detail and improve".
A report detailing the Community Satisfaction Survey will be presented to council at the June 22 meeting.