Long Beach developing central call system

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman speaks at Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman speaks at the Allegria Hotel. (July 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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Long Beach is developing a centralized call system city officials say will be designed to better handle residents' requests and complaints.

The system, called Long Beach Response, will include a phone number and smartphone app that residents can use to report problems with streetlights and potholes, and inquire about issues such as building permits, officials said.

The city is rolling out the first phase of the project this month with a new system that gives residents a tracking number for their requests for service, officials said. That system will begin in the building and public works departments, and later it will be used in other departments, officials said.

The full implementation of the project will include the call center and smartphone app, but an estimated completion date has not been determined, City Manager Jack Schnirman said.

Long Beach is using existing software and staff, and donated materials for the project, and the city does not expect extra expenses, he said.

"This is a game changer in terms of efficiency and accountability," Schnirman said. "It will make the life of a resident easier."

Resident-call service lines exist in dozens of municipalities around the country. North Hempstead and Babylon have 311 services, for instance, and other Long Island towns, including Hempstead and Brookhaven, have similar services.

Long Beach will be able to use the new system to collect data about which services are needed in different parts of the city, Schnirman said. It also will be able to track how quickly the city responds to complaints, he said.

"The goal of this is to get answers and solutions faster," said Gordon Tepper, a city spokesman, "and have it trackable so we can measure our progress through statistics."

With Jennifer Barrios, Aisha Al-Muslim, Deborah S. Morris and Nicholas Spangler

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