May 27, 2011 - The City of Knoxville's 311 call center set a new single week record for calls today with nearly 6,400 calls coming in.
The previous all-time record for a single week in the office's six-year history was 6,355 calls, which took place the week following Thanksgiving in 2007.
The center took in its 6,356th call Friday just after 4:45 p.m.
This week also marks the second time in less than a month that the seven-member 311 staff has received more than 6,000 calls in a week. The 311center answered nearly 6,100 calls during the last week of April.
The center, which operates out of a small office on the sixth floor of the City County Building, typically answers 5,000 calls a day.
311 Director Russ Jensen said the surge in calls is the result of a combination of signups for the city's new curbside recycling program and the unusually violent series of storms that have hammered the city in recent weeks.
The storms have dropped trees across streets and power lines and left tons of debris in their wake.
"A lot of the calls are about recycling and then we've had a couple of more rounds of storms," Jensen said. "We're also getting deeper into the spring so things are blooming and we're starting to get a lot of overgrown lot complaints."
"It's just added up," he said.
The 311 system is the city's customer service center where Knoxville residents can call a single number to report a problem, request a service or get information.
The staff takes non-emergency calls for city departments ranging from Public Service to Parks and Recreation to Engineering and Community Service. Those calls include everything from complaints about potholes to questions about traffic tickets and youth athletic league schedules and requests for brush pickup and other services.
Requests are submitted to the proper departments and entered into the city's tracking system – which allows both the caller and city managers to keep up with the status of the request.
Normally the most common calls are related to questions about City Court or complaints about dirty or overgrown lots.