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Information a phone call away

City officials had not officially opened the new Neighborhood Information Center on Thursday, but nearly 30 calls for assistance came into the switchboard anyway.

As city officials expected, the callers wanted help with mundane but vexing problems _ potholes, overgrown lots, tree branches blocking rights of way.

"One called to say that she's not happy with her neighbor, and she wants him evicted," said Vilma Rodriguez, who will supervise the four-person operation.

Mayor Dick Greco created the information center to provide residents with a one-stop shop for registering their complaints and asking for city services.

Once residents call in, city employees will refer their complaints and questions to the appropriate department. City officials will try to return every call the same day.

The president of Tampa Homeowners _ an Association of Neighborhoods welcomed the announcement.

"This is good news," Warren Bourgeois said. "This is something we've been pressing them to do. . . . Joe Sixpack out in the neighborhood who's got a pothole, he doesn't know who to call. He doesn't know that he calls transportation for a pothole. He doesn't know the difference between sewer and storm sewer."

Beginning Monday, he can find out. The number is 274-7734.

_ Richard Danielson

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