SOUTH BEND - Making good on a campaign promise, Mayor Pete Buttigieg today announced the initial launch of a new 311 phone line in South Bend, which he described as a "one-stop shop" for non-emergency information about city services and programs.
Three city departments Water Works, Solid Waste and Street - have been included in the launch, the mayor said. More will be added in the coming weeks and months, until every city department has been connected to the new line."
Our long-term goal is to make this a one-stop shop for all city services," the mayor said. "But we can't do that all at once, and that's why we're taking a phased-in approach."
The purpose of the new line is to provide residents, businesses and visitors with a simple way to obtain non-emergency information about city services and programs as well as the opportunity to submit and track requests for service, such as to fill potholes or pick up trash.
Callers can track requests online or have status updates sent to them by e-mail.
Calls to the line, which has been live for about a month now, currently ARE being routed to a small call center on the second floor of the Water Works building. Four operators, one of whom speaks Spanish and English, handle the calls, and Simmons, the 311 director, oversees the operation.
All are previous city employees who have been reassigned to 311.The call center currently is being staffed from 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Calls to the center can be made within the city simply by dialing 311.
Outside the city, the number changes to 574-233-0311. In addition, a 311 website (www.southbendin.gov/311) has been set up to provide people with information about the new line as well as ways to contact other city departments.
The bottom line is, South Bend is better off when it's easy to get information and results from the city," Buttigieg said. "I call it, 'Making sure the basics are easy.' And part of making that all work is making sure we simplify the relationship between city government and citizens."
Buttigieg identified establishing a city 311 line as a priority during his campaign for mayor in 2011, and the Common Council included about $300,000 in this year's budget to get the service up and running.
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