Topics of Interest

City Customer Care Center and 24-Hour Hotline (545-3300)

posted May 25, 2014, 8:36 AM by Wales Garden

The City of Columbia is proud to announce the new Customer Care Center and 24-hour hotline at 545-3300. City residents and customers can call the Customer Care Center for City service requests and utility billing questions. Local customers can also use 311 to contact the Customer Care Center.
Customer Care Center calls will be answered by a live person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays, and will replace all previously published numbers for water customer billing questions, drinking water quality questions, sewer questions and hydrant flushing requests. These old numbers will automatically forward to 545-3300. All 311 calls made in the Midlands will also forward to 545-3300.
During City business hours, a City Customer Service Representative will take calls. After hours, a call center will answer on behalf of the City. Both will route service requests to the appropriate City departments. A Customer Service Representative will follow up with the customer during City business hours once the concern has been addressed if the customer leaves contact information.
According to Angela Adams, Customer Service Administrator for the City of Columbia, "The goal of the Customer Care Center is to improve the customer experience by providing timely responses to inquiries and service requests related to City services." City Customer Service Representatives will act as liaisons for City service request and utility billing customers. They will take the customer's information, address any questions that can be answered immediately, submit service requests, follow up with any City divisions that need to be involved in addressing the concern and follow up with the customer if contact information is given.
Please contact the City of Columbia Department of Utilities and Engineering at 545-3400 or Victoria Kramer at 545-3227 if you have questions.(  If you would like to learn more about the City of Columbia's Customer Care Center, visit

Median Improvement Update: July, 11, 2013

posted Jul 23, 2013, 12:57 PM by Wales Garden   [ updated Jul 23, 2013, 12:58 PM ]

We now have completed most of what we had hoped to accomplish this year.  The gaps in each of the planted beds have been filled in with azaleas of the same colors, and the irrigation throughout the median is on timers with new heads that reach both the plant beds and the grass.  We are very grateful to the City Public Works/Forestry and Beautification Division for working with us throughout this process.

Using neighbors’ donations to the Wales Garden Median Project and funds from the Richland County Appearance Committee, Trent Hutchinson and Blue Moon Landscaping service have fertilized and trimmed (with hand trimmers) all azaleas, edged each bed, and mulched two sections (Seneca to Combahee).  We really appreciate their working with us on pricing and doing such a nice job.  Special thanks to Joan Assey for her trim work as well.

Our goal in the future is to fund mulching for the entire median and arranging several volunteer days to weed where it is needed.  Of course, anyone who would like to adopt an area to weed, please do so!

Thank you, Melinda Allen and  Susie Thorpe


posted Jun 13, 2013, 1:21 PM by Wales Garden


Last October 13 and 20th volunteers from our neighborhood pitched in with gloves, shovels and clippers to weed 2 sections of the Saluda Avenue Median.  We found all sorts of things in the underbrush – bottles, cans and one cell phone!  The City helped out by hauling away the mountains of debris.  We had wanted to have more clean up days but the Holidays were upon us.  Hopefully we can schedule more in the future.  

We also had been working with the Forestry and Beautification Division of Columbia to map out each section and identify all the types of plants in each section. Our goal was to find a grant to fund the purchase of new azaleas to fill in areas that needed more bushes.  Also on our wish list was improved irrigation, with timers, for all sections of the median.  At the January 27, 2013 Median party we presented our plan and asked for donations from Wales Gardeners.  The response has been wonderful and we raised a little over $2000 to date.  Our County Council Member, Seth Rose and our City Country Council Member, Moe Baddourah were at the meeting and volunteered to help us achieve our goals.  Mayor Steve Benjamin attended our party as well and was enthusiastic about our project.

At our request, Forestry and Beautification mapped out our current irrigation system.  They also gave us estimates on adding timers and improving the system, which we forwarded on to Moe to hopefully find the funding.  On March 21, 2013, Moe organized a meeting for Andy, Susie and me to meet with Mayor Benjamin, Moe,City Manager Teresa Wilson, Assistant City Manager, Melissa Smith-Gentry, and other city officials, including Public Works Director Robert Anderson and Superintendent of Forestry and Beautification, Sara Hollar.  During the meeting Mayor Benjamin told us he had a donor for all the 60+ azaleas we were requesting as well as that they would find the funding for all the irrigation work.  The plan was to have all this done for City Serve Volunteer Week, April 22 thru 27.  The three of us left the meeting pinching ourselves for what we just accomplished!!  We didn’t get all the irrigation completed, of course, before we planted the donated 60+ azaleas during City Serve but the irrigations is now working and on timers. 

Seth Rose had also been working toward finding funding for the azaleas and did get $928 donated thru the County Appearance Committee.  Since we already had the azaleas, that money along with some of what Wales Garden has collected has been used to have Blue Moon Landscaping fertilize all the azaleas, mulch the 2 sections the city would allow and edge some of the beds that were in need of it. 
Next we plan to get estimates on having the azaleas trimmed correctly which we should have in the next few weeks.  Once done properly the bushes should not have to be trimmed for several years.

Many, many  thanks to our neighborhood volunteers, to Andy Marion for his leadership and guidance, and to City and County officials who made this happen.  Melinda and Susie.

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