Local government survey returns unsurprising results

More than half of respondents to a council survey are satisfied with the Upper Lachlan Shire Council (ULSC).

In March, 222 participants were selected at random in a telephone survey conducted by Piazza Research. This sample size represents 3 per cent (pc) of ratepayers.

Council survey: Sixty percent of ratepayers are satisfied with the local government.

Council survey: Sixty percent of ratepayers are satisfied with the local government.

Overall, 60pc of ratepayers are satisfied with the local government, this is lower than surveys conducted in 2015 (68pc) and 2012 (74pc).

The level of dissatisfaction is much higher than the state average, according to 2017 research conducted by the Local Government of NSW.

However, satisfaction with the service that the council provides improved from 41pc to 51pc. Almost all (93pc) of residents are happy with their quality of life, an increase in four years.

"The survey is an opportunity to measure community sentiment - both positive and negative - to better understand the community's views so we can meet the needs and expectations of our ratepayers," acting general manager Andrew Croke said.

Resident Susan Reynolds said she isn't surprised by the results.

"Our quality of life in our Shire is excellent," Ms Reynolds said. "This is why many new settlers have moved into our stunning, picturesque region and are proud to call it home."

The lower satisfaction result is not surprising, she said.

"I believe that delivery expectations are higher and there is a misunderstanding by some as to what the council is responsible for.

"Given the level of council rates we pay, compared to city dwellers, we don't receive the same level of services. We appear to be paying a premium whilst receiving less," she said.

She would like to see further economic development in the region including tourism, an environmental officer employed at the council, and better assistance from the planning department.

The council scored high in library services, parks and sports grounds, sewerage, town water supply, garbage and recycling services, tourism, communication, and heritage conscious.

However, scored lower in the quality and maintenance of sealed and unsealed (gravel) roads, and the development and building application services.

Requests for road maintenance were higher in 2018-19, according to the ULSC. "This reflects dry, drought-related unseasonal weather conditions where gravel roads are very dry, dusty and becomes corrugated," Mr Croke said.

Three projects were proposed which would hypothetically be funded by a rates increase were supported by less than half: the construction of an indoor hydrotherapy and heated swimming pool (45pc); maintenance on the roads system (49pc); the construction of a new community and civic centre (23pc).

The support for a rate increase to be used towards road maintenance increased by 9pc since 2015.

"There are currently no plans to introduce a special rate variation increase to fund the propositions canvassed," a spokesperson from ULSC said.

Most of those surveyed were aged over 55 years (71pc), about half do not work (51pc), most had lived in the area for more than 10 years (78pc).

The survey has a maximum error margin of 6.6pc and 95pc confidence, meaning that if it were conducted again 19 times out of 20 it would return the same results.