How quickly is Fresno addressing issues in the city?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Potholes, damaged street lights, graffiti... these are just a few of the problems public works crews tackle within the city of Fresno.

Dennis Carmickle has lived in his central Fresno home for 25 years, but this is the first time he's called on the city for repair work - something he says was a 'piece of cake' thanks to the FresGO app.

"They were out here in an hour and a half," he said.

Public works director Scott Mozier says safety takes top priority when it comes to response times.

"About one out of seven of those calls are related to public works issues. The highest items are generally street trees and also potholes," he says.

One complaint that's now made less often is street light outages.

That's because the city converted 34,000 to LEDs over the last two years.

"The culture that we're creating in the city of Fresno is the culture that says we work for you; we work for this community," Mozier says.

It's a culture Mayor Jerry Dyer says employees support.

He adds, "There have been a lot of things that have crept up on us, and people have a lot of issues that they're dealing with in neighborhoods, and they expect us to respond."

Illegal dumping ranks third out of the most common complaints through FresGO and 311.

Jerry Schuber, Assistant Director of Public Utilities, says, "We see a lot of places where it's easy to dump and drive away really quick we get that in the alleys."

Action News obtained the FresGO call log, and after clearing out duplicate requests and incomplete addresses, data showed just 25 of more than 6,100 complaints went unanswered.

City data also shows the 93701 and 93702 zip codes combine 25% of those calls. The average time to close each case is roughly 72 hours.

But that may change this year, with Beautify Fresno efforts drawing hundreds of volunteers per weekend to areas prone to litter.

Schuber says, "It's nice to see Fresno start to own itself and really want to be clean and clean itself up and have partnership in that."

Graffiti remains the number one reported problem plaguing the city of Fresno, making up one-third of the city's nearly 75,000 unique calls to service.

But Community Sanitation manager Jet Lim says that's an improvement.

"12-15 years ago, we were removing 4 million square feet of graffiti. The past 2-3 years maybe (we've removed) 1.6-1.8 million square feet," he says.

With easing pandemic restrictions, he's expecting to see a rise in call volume.

During the first two months of 2021, the department had 4,216 calls for graffiti - up 9% compared to January and February of 2020 (3,856).

But the square footage of graffiti removed increased by 15% (2021: 329,452 - 2020: 282,423), suggesting the tagged areas are getting bigger.

Lim says, "We want to serve our community with compassion and with vision and restore the dignity and pride to them."

That leadership by example has ramped up Beautify Fresno efforts, getting the entire community involved.

To volunteer, click here.

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