MOUNT Alexander Shire residents have marked their shire down for its handling of emergency management in a report card that delivered several "disappointing" results for the council.
The shire rated lower than similar large rural councils in Victoria for emergency management, a community satisfaction survey has found.
Mount Alexander Shire scored 62 points out of 100 for its handling of emergencies and disasters, seven points behind the average for large rural councils, pollsters at JWS Research found.
Last year, the council scored 69 points.
The survey was conducted between January and 22 March, in a period when the state was reeling from a horror bushfire season and mounting concerns about the coronavirus.
Victoria's COVID-19 state of emergency was declared on 16 March, less than a week before the survey ended.
Emergency management was among four areas survey respondents said were most important to them.
Others included elderly support services, where satisfaction dropped from 66 points to 62; and making decisions in the interests of the community, where the shire moved from 48 points to 47.
Residents also said waste management was an area that was most important to them. JWS researchers found resident's opinions on the council's performance in that area was significantly lower than average for a large rural shire or the state average.
Mount Alexander chief executive Darren Fuzzard said it was disappointing to see an overall decline from strong results posed last year, particularly because previous scores had been a source of pride for councillors and staff.
"The past year 2019/20 was a year of many unprecedented events on a state, national and global scale that I am sure has left a lot of people feeling less satisfied in many ways," he said.
"Council continues to invest a large proportion of its budget on roads, footpaths and other capital works, and significant strategic planning projects like Plan Harcourt are now coming to fruition that will help us to plan and manage growth in the shire."
The council scored its highest marks for the appearance of public areas, which rose two points to 72.
JWS researchers found the council performed well on sealed roads, compared to similar-sized councils.
More community satisfaction results: Older Bendigo residents more likely to be dissatisfied with city council, survey finds
They noted that the council's scores had fluctuated in recent years.
"In recent years, (the) council has been unable to maintain the gains it makes in performance ratings," they said.
The researchers believed the council should focus on those areas and "build a steady trend of improvements".
Mr Fuzzard thanked the 401 people who took part in this year's survey for their insights.
"Over the coming months, and following the council election, we will draw on the feedback we received through the recent community satisfaction survey to ensure the next council plan has a strong focus on meeting the needs of our community over the coming years to the best of our ability," he said.
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