ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Residents in St. Louis County now have another option to get answers to their questions about local government.
The county has set up a 311 call center that includes five agents fielding calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The agents can help answer questions about anything government-related. They take about 500 calls per day.
“The most common questions we receive are related to real estate and personal property tax," said 311 Call Center general manager Mike Hoffey.
There are 88 municipalities in St. Louis County and about 500 numbers for offices, making it difficult to know who to call. The center was designed to help with some of the confusion.
“It’s mesmerizing for citizens to think about 'Where do I start my search and which phone number connects to the department that’s going to get me the right person to answer my question?" said Hoffey.
The agents, who are paid for by tax dollars, help direct calls to the correct department.
“I think it’s a positive thing and I’m glad to see my taxes paid on positive things," said St. Louis County resident Michele Porter.
Most people News 4 talked to about the 311 call center were on board, though one resident says this is an unnecessary service.
“It’s a waste of my tax dollars if you ask me," said James Boatwright. "Why can't you call what department you needed to would be my question?”
Hoffey says the average hold time for residents to speak to an agent is 30 seconds. He says the busiest times are in the morning, and between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. during lunch. You must be within St. Louis County boundaries to reach the 311 call center.
There is also a free app associated with the new program called 'Gateway 311.' The app offers answers to the 2,000 most common questions. It also gives residents an opportunity to report different issues such as potholes, downed tree limbs or a neighbor's overgrown grass.