Are ratepayers satisfied?

MAYOR Mal Forman believes the Bundaberg council is delivering value for money on rates - despite a survey revealing more than half of regional Queensland ratepayers believe they are paying too much.

APN Newsdesk can exclusively reveal a survey commissioned by the Local Government Association of Queensland found 56% of voters in provincial councils such as Bundaberg do not agree with Cr Forman's view.

Despite this view, overall satisfaction with regional councils is approaching its highest levels since the study, completed every two years, began in 1997.

In 2005 and 2007, before amalgamation, more than 74% of voters were satisfied with regional councils.

After dropping to around 60% in 2009, a year after amalgamation, voter satisfaction in regional councils has risen 11%.

The 2015 Community Satisfaction Tracking Survey, to be released today, found in four years this has increased to a close to 71% overall performance rating.

Cr Forman said he believed council was delivering ratepayers value for the services they received.

"It is pleasing to see satisfaction has improved.

"We've worked very hard across the whole of the region to do the right thing," he said.

"Our revenue streams aren't as strong as they used to be and we've had to put up rates to deliver the services people expect.

"There is a catch-22. You can keep your rates down but you won't be able to deliver the services people are asking for."

LGAQ president Margaret de Wit said amalgamated councils had worked hard to claw back public approval.

"To record such improvement at a time when it has never been a more difficult environment for local government to operate in deserves a pat on the back for our councils," she said.

"Councils have worked hard to achieve more with less and this is evidenced in these results.

"The rural and remote councils are working hard to deliver under the most dire circumstances of drought which has been devastating their communities for years in many cases."

The survey canvassed the views of 280 respondents from regional council areas and 700 people across Queensland in a survey that is done every two years.

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