When miniature pig owner Christina Wolf felt concerned Topeka ordinances were unclear as to whether keeping that type of animal within city limits was legal, she went to city Councilman Brendan Jensen.
Jensen responded by sponsoring an ordinance, which a council committee has been considering, that would allow miniature pigs to be kept as pets within city limits.
But for those with a question or complaint about city government, the best person to contact first might depend on the nature of their concern.
On matters such as the one Wolf faced, involving potential changes to city ordinance, residents may need the help of a city council member or the mayor.
City media relations director Molly Hadfield suggests those who don’t know where to start begin by calling city manager Brent Trout’s office at (785) 368-3725.
Employees there will answer the question, if possible and — if they can’t — direct the caller to the right person, Hadfield said.
“People may be afraid to contact the city for whatever reason and they shouldn’t be because we’re here to help,” she said.
Mayor Larry Wolgast, who served on the council before winning election to his current office in 2013, agreed this past week that the city manager’s office is perhaps the best place to call first.
Still, he said, contacting a city council member or the mayor may also be appropriate because — whether the purpose is seeking information or reporting a problem — “the council member will see that you receive a response.”
In addition, residents often make first contact with their council member or mayor because they would prefer for that person to be aware of their inquiry, Wolgast said.
Topeka’s city government is in a time of transition, as seven of the 10 seats on the governing body are up for a vote Tuesday.
Three people holding those offices — Wolgast, and council members Richard Harmon and Elaine Schwartz — aren’t seeking re-election.
Meanwhile, Trout took office late last month as Topeka’s city manager.
Many of the questions the city manager’s office receives are about road construction, Hadfield said. She said residents can learn details of specific infrastructure projects by going online to use the city’s “projects” portal.
Another option is using the SeeClickFix application, which residents may download to their cellphones, she said.
The public can use SeeClickFix to report problems that include potholes, downed trees, snow removal concerns and property maintenance code violations, Hadfield said.
For a water main break, which demands more immediate attention, she suggests calling the public works department’s customer service line at (785) 368-3111.
Other places citizens might want to call for help include the neighborhood relations department at (785) 368-3711 and the planning department at (785) 368-3728, Hadfield said.
Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.