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Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 1:25 PM

Council to improve community satisfaction


Murrindindi Shire.

Murrindindi Shire are working to improve community satisfaction with performance.

Mayor Charlie Bisset said the annual community satisfaction survey showed considerable room for improvement in how Council delivered services.

“It was disappointing to see a decline overall in community satisfaction with our services, including about the condition of sealed local roads and elderly support services,” Cr Bisset said.

“There was also some dissatisfaction with our performance as advocates for the community, about whether we are making decisions in the interest of the community and about our role in keeping the community informed.

“Council scored considerably better on the perception of its customer service and on the level of satisfaction with the appearance of public areas in the Shire, but these were still lower levels of satisfaction than the average for small rural councils”, she said.

Since being elected in October 2016, councillors have asked the community for input about the work council should focus on over the next four years.

“We see this survey as establishing a baseline from which we can move onwards and upwards as a new Council. The survey was conducted in February, which was just before we got into our groove by conducting the ‘Have Your Say’ Project and really started talking with communities about what they want for the future of the Shire,” she said.

“We knew coming in as new councillors, that we have considerable work to do to rebuild community confidence in how Council does business and ensuring people understand the value they get for their rates. This is the reason we seven Councillors ran for election in the first place – we are all community members and we understand the pressures on families to make ends meet, by managing bills, mortgages and those unexpected costs that seem to pop up so regularly!”

“Following the ‘Have Your Say’ campaign which helped inform the new Council Plan, council is working to better connect with communities. Council has rolled out a new website, a new facebook page, and is starting to use video to inform communities about its services and things going on in the Shire.

It (council) is also ensuring it reaches audiences which are not connected to the internet or social media, by using traditional media.”

“We are working hard to provide a better answer to one of the most common questions asked by the community, which is ‘what do I get for my rates?’. While rates and many other bills are a reality of life, whether you are a home or business owner or run a property, we need to ensure rate funds are providing the services the community needs. Those rates should also support Council’s delivery of the community’s long term aspirations for the Shire.”

“And, having a young family and cost pressures myself, I know only too well the feeling I get when that rates notice turns up in the post box. However it is important to keep that cost in perspective. Rates represent only 3.6% of all the taxation collected in Australia. We probably don’t think about the tax withheld by the Federal Government in our payslips each week, or the GST added to every purchase we make at a shop, in quite the same way. But councils really do provide a huge range of grass roots government services for the relatively small percentage of taxation they collect.”

“An important part of the work we are now focusing on is to raise awareness of what it is that councils actually do. We have recently been talking with the community (via media and Facebook) about the huge range of services we provide to the aged and disabled, assets and infrastructure work, local laws, libraries and child care. It is important that the community understands the services on offer to them and that they connect these important services with the rates they pay.”

“Council has a range of statutory obligations and services it must provide to the community set by the state and federal governments. But the work of a council doesn’t stop there. Councils need to be community hubs.

“We want Murrindindi Shire Council to be an organisation which connects people to one another and to important services. It should also be a place which helps the community come together to enjoy and celebrate the things we all love about the Shire.

“Councillors and staff are taking on the challenge to improve community satisfaction with Murrindindi Shire Council. We are members of the community too and want the broader community to be happy to work in partnership with Council as we take on what we need to do over the next four years. We are working hard to achieve a better result in next year’s community satisfaction survey,” Cr Bisset said.

The Victorian Government will provide updated data and statistics on the ‘Know Your Council’ website in November.

Text & Images ©COPYRIGHT 2017 Kinglake Ranges News.
With Murrindindi Shire Council.

 

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