Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the city’s 311 Center, which launched March 1, received a total of 2,287 calls during its first ten days of operation.

He says 287 of those calls were service requests. The rest were calls for information that could be answered from the service’s frequently asked questions database.

The most frequently asked information requests were:

  1. How can I dispose of a dead animal? – 97 views.
  2. Do I need a permit for a fence? – 92 views.
  3. What are the local sales tax rates on (clothing, shoes, restaurant food, liquor, etc)? – 81 views.
  4. Library falcon information? – 77 views.
  5. Can I trim my neighbor’s tree if it encroaches onto my property? – 75 views.
  6. How can I obtain Security Deposit interest rates? – 72 views.
  7. Landlord tenant, Eviction? – 67 views.
  8. Who does Evanston Police Department do fingerprinting for? – 65 views.
  9. I would like to contest a parking ticket. – 62 views.
  10. I have no water throughout my house. – 52 views

The most frequent service requests dealt with:

  1. Broken Parking Meters – 19 requests.
  2. Trash: Cart Repair – 19 requests.
  3. Abandoned Vehicle – 17 requests.
  4. Trash: Missed Garbage Pick Up – 17 requests.
  5. Recycling: Missed Pick Up – 17 requests.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Statistics

    I question the "view" data presented. When someone goes to the 311 web page, many of those top ten are the first thing that one sees (the first page of answers). I believe that many of the views were people just looking around to see what there was, rather then actual searching for requests.

    How to make statistics look good without using common sense.

  2. Revealing

    these stats are pretty entertaining overall to look at. There must be a lot of dead animals lying around E-town. It's also funny that 75 people wanted to know if they can trim their neighbor's tree for property infringement, but I bet they dont even cut their own lawn…

    1. 311 Makes me wonder ?

      I had been a supporter of Wally even though I had some questions about proposals.  However the 311 Center was probably the most bone-headed idea and expensive esp, in this economy and all of Evanston's problems.

      The list of what was called about seems are calls that really did not need to be made, curiousity and things that could be handled by existing bodies in city government—and were probably transfered to them.  Could the 311 operators answer all the questions, how many had to be transfered, what was the time taken to answer them ?

      For $300,000 [does anyone really believe that is all it will really cost], the city could put out a printed guide [and on Web site] of 1. Who to contact about what, 2. Frequently asked questions.  Probably 99% of he calls could be handled that way.


  3. Little wonder at 200 calls a day

    A trip to EPL or even NU library will soon convince anyone that 'there is no end to questions.'  People ask the librarians the most trivial questions—ones that they could find the answer to in just checking the online catalog and this was even before google which would probably cover most of the remaining questions.

    I see one person at EPL and NU library everyday asking questions that he obviously never made the first steps towards finding out for himself and probably no other purpose than having an excuse for talking to someone.  There are probably a lot more people that will call librarians and 311 just to talk to someone no matter how trivial the question is or whether they are interested in the subject.

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