Corangamite shock: ratepayers love their councillors

CORANGAMITE Shire’s seven councillors have been lauded as the shire’s top attribute in the latest community satisfaction survey. 

The councillors were nominated as the top attribute by 17 per cent of those interviewed in the annual survey.

Shire chief executive officer Andrew Mason said the result highlighted how councillors were all part of a strong team. 

“I think the survey results reflect we have a strong and cohesive council committed to supporting our local communities,” Mr Mason said.

“Our councillors don’t always agree, but there is mutual respect and professionalism that allow them to work through issues. 

“They are all part of the team and it creates and environment where staff can be proactive and deliver projects that benefit the community.” 

The shire again rated above large rural shire and state averages in the latest survey, which is run annually by state government regulator Local Government Victoria. 

The shire’s indexed mean score of 66 for overall performance was nine points higher than the large rural shires’ average and five points higher than the state average, which Mr Mason said was a fantastic reflection of the hard work all staff across the shire. 

A total of 400 residents were interviewed for the 2014 survey which tests community satisfaction levels across five key governance and 21 service areas. 

The council’s scores for customer service, community consultation, advocacy and lobbying and overall council direction were also above the state and large rural shires’ average.

Forty-two percent of residents interviewed said sealed and maintained roads was the area in greatest need of improvement, followed by nature strips (11 per cent). 

Council only fell below state and large rural shire averages in roadside slashing and weed control, condition of sealed local roads and maintenance of unsealed roads. 

Mr Mason said councillors being nominated as the shire’s top attribute reflected a strong and cohesive council that was supporting their local communities. 

Mr Mason said satisfaction levels had risen in areas like customer service, recreational facilities, appearance of public areas, local streets and footpaths and waste management. 

“Comparing last year’s results, we have improved in or maintained satisfaction levels with 11 out of 14 service areas,” he said. 

“In the past year we’ve focused on the idea of customer service being an organisation-wide responsibility instead of looking at it purely in terms of our front desk. 

“We know we’ve still got work to do around roads and weed control but there is a greater emphasis on unsealed roads and weeds next financial year with $2 million going towards gravel resheets, $40,000 for a new blackberry control program and an additional $50,000 for weed spraying.”

Cr Peter Harkin said he thought the shire’s community plan process had brought councillors closer to the community. 

“It’s very pleasing to see councillors are rated as the shire’s top attribute. We are all here to represent the community, so hopefully this means we are doing a good job in their eyes,” Cr Harkin said. 

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