It comes as no surprise that fewer people are satisfied with the communication, engagement and community involvement of our regional council.
Apathy for council workings seems to be accepted by the public until something goes very wrong.
A survey of 1311 residents taken during June and July asked people to rate the Bay of Plenty Regional Council from their perspective and perceptions.
People surveyed say our regional council's priorities should be the protection and enhancement of land, air, water quality and wildlife, maintenance of flood protection schemes and management of plant and animal pests.
However, awareness levels about the difference between the regional council and city or district council services remained low, the survey says.
We reported last week, a separate breakdown of the different districts showed Taupō recorded the highest number (60 per cent) of people stating they had no knowledge of the difference between councils, followed by Kawerau (55 per cent) and Ōpōtiki (53 per cent) then Rotorua (48 per cent). In total, just 22 per cent of people knew the differences between councils.
It may seem from the outside looking in, the council takes ratepayers' money and for some it seems there is little to show for it.
Regional councils are generally tasked with the kaitiaki of the environment and are also responsible for the management of the region's public transport.
Regional council chief executive Fiona McTavish says it is great people's satisfaction levels have increased but the survey is a reminder "that we always need to work hard to make sure we are serving the whole community".
However, there is work to be done in better connecting with the community and the regional council will revise its communications strategies to "focus on building wider awareness about what we do".
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But it goes both ways.
While it is all very well complaining that the council needs to have more community engagement, it also falls on us as ratepayers and constituents to make ourselves familiar with our councillors – their roles, and how we can have our say.
Do you know who your representative is on the regional council?
Would you know how to contact them with your concerns? Or how to make a submission or give feedback on an issue before the council?
The best way of seeing your ratepayer dollars at work is to get involved, have your say and find out what your council should be doing for you.