News : Calling City Hall Soon as Easy as Dialing 3-1-1
April 4, 2012 -- Calling Halifax City Hall is about to get a lot easier.
Beginning either late this fall or early in the winter, Halifax Regional Municipality will roll out its new 311 phone number to contact municipal information and services.
Brad Anguish, director of community and recreation services, announced the implementation of the system Tuesday during regional council’s session of committee of the whole.
This week, the committee has been listening and deliberating as each municipal department presents its proposed budget for 2012-13.
The 311 phone number will replace the current 490-4000 information line and will be staffed by the same call centre workers, Anguish said. The new hotline will also take non-emergency complaints currently answered on the police department’s 490-5016 line.
"This has been cooking since 2006," Anguish said.
The line will have multi-lingual service available through a contracted third party.
About $50,000 has been set aside in the department’s budget to advertise the new service.
The city is set to put the 311 number into operation in November, but that could be delayed, Anguish said.
The municipal call centre is also going to host the province’s 211 phone system. That system was announced last year and will link Nova Scotians with social, health, community and government services in their communities.
The province is planning to have the 211 service ready by February, and Anguish said work will have to be done to co-ordinate the launch of both lines.
The municipal call centre aims to answer 80 per cent of incoming calls within 20 seconds, Anguish said. So far, the centre has managed to have 76 per cent of calls answered within that time.
Once the municipality’s boundary review process is complete and the fall election held, councillors will be relying heavily on the 311 system to help them with what will likely be a heavier load of inquiries, Coun. Debbie Hum (Rockingham-Wentworth) said.
The municipality currently has 23 polling districts, which will be reduced to 16.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Thursday, April 05, 2012
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