More study for Omaha’s 311 phone line

More study for Omaha’s 311 phone line

By Erin Golden December 8, 2012 10:08 am Comments

The City of Omaha is still toying with the idea of a universal information line — but isn’t ready to dig for the cash until it sorts out more of the details.

The idea of a 311 line started picking up traction here a couple years ago. The city spent $93,000 on a study that said installing a line that would pick up calls to the Mayor’s Office, Public Works and other departments would cost about $1.2 million.

Now the city is hoping the work of a soon-to-be hired employee will cut that cost. The council set aside $40,000 to hire a new staffer to assess which types of calls come in most frequently, who should field them and how much of a 311 line could be operated with people and equipment the city already owns.

This step is supposed to take about six months. If the city decides to go for the line, it would still have to come up with the money, which means it probably wouldn’t be a reality until sometime in 2014.

In the meantime, the Omaha Mobile App, introduced by the city this summer, is getting more use. So far, there have been about 3,500 downloads of the program that allows users to snap a photo of problems like graffiti or abandoned vehicles, submit it to the city, and get regular progress reports.