SURPRISE, surprise! The community is not happy with the performance of the South Gippsland Shire Council and not only with the councillors themselves.
In the annual Community Satisfaction Survey results, based on a survey completed by 813 of the 4000 people circulated with the questionnaire, the shire’s overall rating dropped dramatically, as acknowledged by the new Shire Administrator, Julie Eisenbise.
After thanking those residents who had taken the 20 minutes or so to fill in the survey, Ms Eisenbise acknowledged the poor response.
“The overall performance of the shire has significantly dropped from 46 last year to 33 points out of a hundred this year,” she told the community at last week’s council meeting, her first in charge of the shire.
“It’s not all bad. (The response to) our sealed roads have increased again by two points to 48, and have continued to improve since the beginning of the survey when it had a score of 30 in 2016.
“It’s great to see that the shire is improving our local rural roads in the shire.
“And the overall image and reputation has dropped for our overall council direction, including community consultation.
“These three areas and others will be the key focus for us as Administrators to improve in the coming months. So, we are very much looking at the image, the reputation and the overall council direction in community satisfaction,” she said before accepting the satisfaction report.
The report found:
• Residents of South Gippsland are dissatisfied with Council’s performance, with an index score of 33 out of 100. Only 7% say they are satisfied, while more than half (54%) are very dissatisfied with Council. More than half (52%) feel that Council’s performance ‘deteriorated’ in the past 12 months and nearly six in ten (59%) rate the overall direction of Council as ‘poor’. Residents indicate that a reduction in rates (24%), more harmony amongst councillors (21%), better leadership (20%) and dismiss/review/replacement of Council (20%), is called for to improve evaluation.
• Council received low scores for ‘Overall Reputation’, with a year-on-year comparison resulting in a major decline from an index of 42 in 2018 to 27 in 2019.
• Assessment ‘Financial management’ dropped from 37 to 26, ‘Trust and Faith’ dropped from 40 to 26, ‘Leadership’ from 42 to 27 and ‘Overall Services and Facilities’ from 54 to 49.
• Resident’s satisfaction with ‘Council Services and Facilities’ received a decline from an overall 54 index in 2018 down by 5 points to 49 in 2019. The highest levels of satisfaction received were for Waste management services’ (68% very satisfied).
• Library services received a result indicating 64% of respondents were ‘very satisfied’ with the service. Playgrounds also received a ‘very satisfied’ result from 63% of residents. Overall, ‘Parks and Reserves’ (73 index), ‘Customer Service’ (66 index), ‘Waste Services’ (65 index) and ‘Facilities and Events’ (63 index) retained the highest community satisfaction results across all the survey areas.
• While ‘Value for Money’ is the least overall driver of performance evaluation, it is an area that has seen a further decline from an index of 41 in 2018 down to 37 in 2019. ‘Rates being fair and reasonable’ dropped from 38 to 30 and ‘Fees for other services being fair and reasonable’ dropped from 43 to 37.
• While there has been a further satisfaction with the condition of local sealed roads, from an index of 46 up to 48, there remains greater levels of dissatisfaction with gravel roads.
• Satisfaction with ‘Car park availability’ also declined from 59 to 51. Street lighting is a strong performer under this category with an increase from 61 to 62. Improvements were also seen in cycle ways and trails up from 53 to 55, maintenance of footpaths up from 52 to 56.
• There has been a clear decline in community engagement (down from 48 to 40). Strzelecki ward residents were the least satisfied for each component in this category, compared to the other wards.