Report: Dallas Late in Responding to Service Requests

Some City Council members say problem is worse than report shows

A new report shows the city of Dallas is increasingly late responding to resident requests for service. As of January 9, 513 were requests were considered late, 29.9 percent more than in November, according to a report to City Council members. 

"That's unacceptable," Councilwoman Linda Koop said. "We need to continue working hard at that and get those numbers up."

The city assigns different deadlines for various requests for service. An initial response is generally required within 24 hours, but solving the problem could take much longer. 

City Council members have been calling for faster responses for several years after receiving complaints about poor response from city departments.

"I think we're getting better, but we still have a lot of room for improvement," Koop said.

Of the 84,482 requests for service since Oct. 1, 93 percent have been closed, according to the report. Of those, 97 percent were closed on time. 

But some council members said they believe the problem is worse than the latest numbers show.

Councilman Mitchell Rasansky called the new report "lies."

Rasansky and Councilman Ron Natinsky said constituents have told them the city often closes requests for service without actually solving the problem.

"Nobody answers the phone, so they close it out," Natinsky said. "Those don't appear on there, so I think the numbers are really somewhat worse than what are being reflected on the memo."

"We need to make sure we have customer satisfaction, that's what we're here for," Council members Elba Garcia said.

Joey Zapata, the city's acting code enforcement director, denied the city ignores problems to close cases.

He said the number of late cases may be rising because inspectors are finding more problems and opening cases on their own without complaints. Zapata said reporting the numbers shows the city's dedication to improving the situation.

The city is currently training 34 new code inspectors who will be expected to help improve response to citizen complaints. 

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