Need Help from Savannah? Dial 311

Whom do you call if your yard is flooding, or if there's a tree down, or a street light is out? In Savannah, one three-digit number could soon solve a lot of life's little property problems.

Sarah McClendon is probably one of the most patient people you will ever speak to. She answers the phone more than a hundred times a day, and everyone is calling to complain. She works at the customer service center for the city.

She's heard every city problem you can imagine. One of the oddest? "Probably to pick up a dead animal, which then jumps up and it's not really dead, just sleeping," she said.

Her job is to keep track of it all. And it's a tough job that's just been made easier.

She used to contact every department to pass along the individual problems, but now with a new 311 system, all she does is type in the problem at her computer and the department types a response as to whether it's completed, or scheduled to fixed.

"It's easy, customer friendly, and I can find if it's successfully completed a lot quicker," McClendon told us.

And soon city residents will also reap the benefits of the new 311 system. In the next eight months, residents will be able to dial 311 to get McClendon, a project Savannah is helping to pioneer.

"We're second to only Columbus, Muskegee County, which is a consolidated government, so we feel good about that," said central services director Carol Bell.

McClendon is excited. She is also happy she will have more help when 311 starts, because she knows she will be getting a lot more calls.

The city customer service center already gets more than 45,000 calls a year, and they are expecting that number to increase dramatically when 311 is up and running.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro,