Ballarat planning applications took an average of nine days longer to decide in the last financial year compared to the previous 12 months, new figures show.
Council planners took an average of 68 days to decide on planning applications 2018/19, compared to 59 days the previous year.
According to the City of Ballarat's annual report for 2018/19, which was released this month, the number of applications decided within statutory time frames fell to 64 per cent, declining from 72 per cent in 2017/18.
The figure includes standard application permits with a statutory time frame for a decision of 60 days, and the simpler VicSmart application decisions, where planners are required to make a call within 10 days.
The statistics reinforce feedback from an independent survey on the council published last week, which suggested that many residents had reservations about council's performance on planning and parking.
"This has substantially contributed to the higher turnaround times as the team adjusts to more limited resources," the report reads.
The report said the number of applications received had been declining in recent years, but that the overall cost per planning permit application was increasing. In the 2018/19 financial year, the cost per application averaged $2,106.34, an increase of $367 on the previous 12 months due to increased contractor and legal costs.
It reflects a similar, wider trend among councils such as Geelong and Bendigo. While planners at Geelong and Bendigo decided a higher proportion within the time frame, their costs were substantially higher with Bendigo's reaching $2,906.32 per planning permit application.
Council is pursuing further digitisation of our systems to improve performance generallyStatement from the City of Ballarat council
In a statement, the City of Ballarat council said that the area was experiencing significant growth and the complexity of planning applications was also increasing.
"That does translate from time to time to a more complicated planning environment," it read.
"Council is pursuing further digitisation of our systems to improve performance generally, with the intent being applicants will be able to lodge their applications electronically, and track and manage the process in a more transparent way.
"However, this modernisation project has impinged slightly on our resources on a day to day basis."
Other statistics revealed in the report showed that almost 100 per cent of sealed roads were maintained to required standards, while there was a slight improvement in community satisfaction with council decisions, rising to to 55.7 per cent.
The number of missed kerbside bin collections rose slightly to 10.17 for every 10,000 bins collected, similar to Geelong but much higher than in Bendigo (1.34 per 10,000) where a new contractor was praised for overseeing "a significant increase in efficiency and reduction in missed bins".
Costs of kerbside recycling jumped substantially to $49.63, a trend mirrored in many other councils across the state following the significant recent upheaval in the recycling industry.
There was a positive start to the council's Carbon Neutrality and Renewables Action Plan, which was endorsed in April, with the number of carbon tonnes emitted down two per cent to a total of 38, 207. The plan sets out measures to help the council become carbon neutral by 2025.
- READ MORE: Ballarat's journey to carbon neutrality
The new data is all included within the council's annual report, which is released as part of the Local Government Planning and Reporting Regulations introduced in 2014.
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