Bay people happy with rates

By Lawrence Gullery

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A survey marking public perception of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council shows most people feel they receive "acceptable value" in exchange for paying rates.

But just half of the 700 respondents thought of the council as the main organisation when it came to environmental issues.

Most of those surveyed were aware they paid regional council rates and the most frequently cited main roles of the council were water management followed by environmental management.

A total of 38 per cent of respondents thought they received acceptable value from their regional council rates while 23 per cent stated "good value", 5.6 per cent stated "very good value".

Those who stated "poor or very poor value" totalled 16.7 per cent of all respondents.

The telephone survey was conducted over six weeks from April 2013 to measure residents' awareness and satisfaction of the council in regard to its role, to get a handle on residents' attitudes to the environment and to supply a report which could help managers with their planning and reports.

Of the 700 participants, 89 per cent were ratepayers. The survey was divided into eight sections including awareness of the regional council and the environment, the HeatSmart programme, recreational water use, Civil Defence, dealing with the council, the council's communication and a wish list of spending areas.

In the HeatSmart section, most people used a wood burner or open fire to heat their homes while 44 per cent used clean heat options, such as a heat pump.

When it came to being prepared for an emergency, 95.3 per cent of respondents stated they had enough food stored for three days, 89.3 per cent had some way of cooking without electricity and 68.6 per cent had enough water stored.

More people, 72 per cent, had no dealings with the regional council in the past 12 months followed by 20 per cent who had one to two dealings.

Most people who wanted to know more about a council matter would phone in (51 per cent), followed by a visit to the council's website (27 per cent).

In the "final thoughts" section, respondents were asked if they could afford to pay more regional council rates, what would be their wish list?

Water issues, roading and transport topped the list followed by parks, reserves, planting and habitat.

The council's community engagement and communications manager Drew Broadley will present the results of the survey to the regional council at its meeting on Wednesday.

His report said staff were pleased with the result and the survey would be used to improve the council's work and project planning.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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