After being overwhelmed with phone calls and complaints during a blizzard last January, Baltimore County has upgraded its customer service phone system and website, officials announced Thursday.
The Department of Public Works' phone system can now handle more callers at once, and callers on hold will be given an estimated wait time to speak with a representative.
The "stormfighter" section of the county's website at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/stormfighter now includes an online reporting system for storm-related complaints, such as a need for plowing following a snowstorm or trees in the road following a tropical storm. Residents can pinpoint the location of the problem on a map and can submit pictures.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the upgrades on Thursday during a visit to the emergency operations center in Towson, where workers participated in a winter storm exercise.
Last winter, Baltimore County spent $15.7 million on winter storms, including $9.4 million on January's blizzard when nearly 30 inches of snow fell. The county sets aside $6 million for winter storms each year and covers any costs beyond that from the county's surplus.
Since the winter of 2000-2001, the county has averaged spending $7.7 million on plowing and salting each winter.