Council can lift its game in key areas

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie says she is trying to improve community consultation and encourages residents to provide feedback.WODONGA Council’s approach to community consultation has room for improvement after being found to be an average performance area in a recent independent customer satisfaction survey.

Consultation, lobbying and decision-making all rated just above the state average, but the index score for each core measurement were all considered average.

The survey of 400 Wodonga residents was carried out between February 1 and March 30 this year and is the first time the council has participated in the survey since 2012.

Customer service was the strongest performance area with an index score of 75 considered to be good.

But the index score for consultation (56), lobbying (56) and decision-making (53) are allaverage.

Lobbying had a high level of “don’t know”responses (19 per cent) whichsuggests many in the community were not aware of what council wasdoing in thearea.

Wodonga’s present major priorities include the central business district overhaul, Logic industrial huband Baranduda sportsfields.

But the council has adopted a “secret society” approach to all lobbying attempts on major projects in recent years.

Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie has also come under fire for refusing to declare whether her council would donate money tofit out the Albury-Wodonga cancer centre and refusing to confirmCr Mark Byatt was stepping aside.

In a prepared statement, Cr Speedie said the council was always looking for ways to improve.

“I’ve made a concerted effort to engage with the community, talk with residents and groups regularlyand I’ve spent time visiting schools and businesses in my first six months,” she said.

“I’ve encouraged residents to come in and see me.”

The council didn’t divulge how much the survey cost, but aDepartment of Environment, Land, Water andPlanning spokesman said the minimum cost was $8250.

“Councils can choose to include more questions on their survey at additional cost, with the maximum being $18,100,” he said.

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