Ratepayers' wishes clear in survey

Dunedin residents want the Dunedin City Council to focus on encouraging business development and reducing debt in a city with safe and accessible cycleways, according to the latest Dunedin City Council satisfaction survey.

The annual residents' satisfaction survey results were released yesterday and showed 58% were satisfied or very satisfied with the council - the highest level of satisfaction recorded since the question was first asked in 2003.

While economic development continued to record low satisfaction scores there was a significant improvement in satisfaction with retaining existing businesses and jobs and supporting development of existing businesses.

Satisfaction with the council-owned, but not run, Dunedin Ice Stadium, stormwater services, the look and feel of South Dunedin's retail area and traffic flow at peak times declined the most, between 10 and six percentage points on last year.

Results showed satisfaction was up for council customer services, the council newsletter, FYI, and the suitability of roads for cyclists.

For the first time residents were asked to rate councillors and the mayor's performance, with 44% saying they were satisfied and 19% saying they were dissatisfied.

Cr David Benson-Pope's campaign on the state of the city's streets appeared to be backed up with resi-dents' satisfaction with street cleanliness at 55%, down from 58% last year.

As with previous years, satisfaction was the highest with the Dunedin Botanic Garden, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin Public Libraries and rubbish collection, all of which recorded scores of better than 90%.

Residents indicated council's priorities for the next 12 months should be to encourage business development, reduce council spending and control debt, control the level of rates and provide cycleways.

Residents continued to perceive the city as being safe, scoring it 58%.

Mayor Dave Cull said it was ironic the community rated economic development, jobs and businesses so highly given changes to local Government meant councils no longer had a mandate to work in that area.

''The community clearly wants us to focus on that.''

The priorities residents rated were similar to what the council had been working on for the past three years including controlling debt and creating more cycle lanes.

''Overall to have steadily rising satisfaction is very pleasing.''

It was important to note that even the areas with the least satisfaction, the levels were higher than previous years, such as the ice stadium, which declined 10 percentage points to 71% but that was still seven points higher than in 2012.

''Overall satisfaction is going up and dissatisfaction is going down.''

Key Research research manager Duncan McIntosh said the 27.7% response rate was very good compared to other survey return rates.

It was difficult to compare the result with those of other council's as their surveys were not consistent.

Tauranga's phone poll showed customer satisfaction to be 65%, he said.

The Dunedin survey of 1248 randomly selected ratepayers had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%.

The survey cost the council $36,000.


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