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Unsealed roads have languished at the bottom of resident satisfaction polls for years, but the Waitaki District Council has yet to try to determine how much it would have to spend to significantly raise satisfaction.
Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen confirmed roughly $1.2 million was spent maintaining and renewing unsealed roads each year.
When spending was increased in 2017, a marginal increase in satisfaction was recorded but no work had been done to investigate whether further spending would significantly improve satisfaction.
"It is assumed that the dissatisfaction is in part due to land use and vehicle fleet changes,'' Mr Jorgensen said. "The introduction of irrigation and dairy conversions, coupled with larger, more powerful heavy vehicles means that roads are used quite differently than in the past.
"It would be good to survey people to find out what would change their status from dissatisfied to satisfied and what they would be prepared to pay to achieve it.''
He said it would be up to the new council to determine whether that work would be a priority.
In the latest annual residents' survey, conducted late last year and early this year, resident satisfaction with the district's unsealed roads remained the lowest indicator of council performance, with just 28% of residents satisfied.
Last year 29% were satisfied. The year before 27% were satisfied and in 2016-17 - the first time residents' satisfaction with unsealed roads was included in the survey - just 24% were satisfied.
Spending on both sealed and unsealed roads was increased in 2017-18 when the marginal increase in satisfaction was recorded.
In 2016-17 the council spent $3.6 million on maintenance and renewal work on sealed roads and $980,000 on unsealed roads.
That was increased to $4.3million on sealed roads and $1.3 million on unsealed roads in 2017-18.
Another $4.3 million on sealed roads and $1.2 million on unsealed roads was spent in 2018-19 and this financial year $4.5 million and $1.2 million would be spent on sealed and unsealed roads respectively.