Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who do I call if the street lights on my block have gone out?
Street light outages should be reported directly to CenterPoint Energy at 713.207.2222 or online at the CenterPoint Energy website Electric Outage Center. When reporting an outage to CenterPoint, you will need to have the 6 digit number found on the light pole, or the address where the light is located. This will expedite the maintenance process. If you fail to receive a timely resolution to the issue, please call my office and also report the outage to my staff.
Please note – if there is a City construction project in the area, such as a Neighborhood Street Reconstruction, CenterPoint Energy will frequently disconnect power to the street lights for the duration of the project. CenterPoint will not re-energize the lights until the project has been completely finished.
2. Who should I call if Solid Waste missed my trash pickup or recycling?
Please visit the SWMD Service Schedules and Neighborhood Service Maps web page to verify the pickup schedule for your neighborhood. If you have been missed for weekly garbage pickup or recycling, you may report it to 3-1-1.
Detailed instructions about the tree waste/junk waste policy can be found at the Tree Waste and Junk Waste Program web page, along with a schedule. If you have an issue with heavy trash pickup, please report it to 3-1-1.
3. Will the City fix my sidewalk that is in disrepair?
Unfortunately, the maintenance and repair of neighborhood sidewalks is the responsibility of the abutting property owner, and the City will only replace sidewalks in very specific circumstances, such as on a busy thoroughfare, near a school, or for citizens with mobility impairments. If any of these criteria may apply, please visit this website Safe Sidewalks web page for more information about the Safe Sidewalk Program.
4. How can I help my neighborhood beautify our esplanades and other public spaces?
The Planning and Development Department is available to help communities with issues such as deed restrictions, minimum lot size applications and other neighborhood initiatives, including helping fund improvement projects through the Neighborhood Matching Grant Program (NMGP).
For esplanades, the Parks and Recreation Department sponsors the “Adopt an Esplanade” program (.pdf) which can help community groups with beautification efforts for city esplanades.
5. Where can I find information about crime statistics in my neighborhood?
The Houston Police Department keeps current data about crime throughout the City and makes this information available online. Please feel free to use this resource, and if you have specific questions or concerns about crime in your neighborhood, please contact my office.
6. How can I schedule a visit to City Hall for my class, scout troop or other interested group?
City Council meetings are held most Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. and are open to the public. Tuesday afternoons are generally public session, where constituents and residents are given the opportunity to address City Council. During the Wednesday morning sessions, Council Members and the Mayor vote on agenda items. Free guided tours of City Hall are available on weekdays, by reservation.
You do not need to schedule a visit to either session through my office, but if your group is planning on attending a Council session, please let me know! If, however, a member of your group would like to speak at the Council Public Session, sign up to speak for Tuesday Public Session by calling the City Secretary’s office at 832.393.1100, or send an email to email@example.com or come by the office on the public level of the City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby, Houston 77002 by 1:30 p.m. that Tuesday. Note: If a translator is required, please so advise when reserving time to speak.
7. What do I do if I have a water-main break?
Initially contact the 3-1-1 service request line or fill out the online form available at Houston 3-1-1 Service Request Index to report a minor water main break. To follow up on the request please call my office at 832.393.3001 or e-mail the office at firstname.lastname@example.org with your 3-1-1 service number.
8. Who do I report illegally parked trucks or a large amount of through traffic in my neighborhood to?
Initially contact the 3-1-1 service request line to receive a service request number. To follow up on the request please call my office at 832.393.3001 or e-mail the office at email@example.com with your 3-1-1 service number.
9. What should I do if there is a swimming pool hazard in my neighborhood?
Report a pool violation to the Department of Health and Human Services at 832.393.5100 if:
- There is a house, occupied or unoccupied, with a pool or spa that has not been properly maintained. This can result in green or black water that may breed mosquitoes.
- There are any slats broken or missing from a fence that surrounds a house with a pool or a spa. This also includes both vacant and occupied houses.
- A house or property has any type of outside above-ground pool or spa that is not enclosed by a secure fence.
Visit the Health Department Residential Pools web page to learn more. If the issue is not resolved in a timely manner please contact my office.
10. What should I do about overgrown lots, visible junk or dilapidated buildings in my area?
Initially contact the 3-1-1 service request line or visit Houston 3-1-1 Service Request Index to report illegal dumping, dangerous buildings and overgrown lots. To follow up on the request please call our office at 832.393.3001 or e-mail our office at firstname.lastname@example.org with your 3-1-1 service number.
11. Who should I report graffiti to?
Graffiti may be reported by calling the 3-1-1 service request line or by filling out the online form available at Houston 3-1-1 Service Request Index. If the situation is not resolved in a timely manner please contact my office at 832.393.3001 to receive assistance.
- Learn more about what you can do to mitigate graffiti.
12. How can I report illegal Bandit or Spectacular signs?
The City of Houston Sign Code prohibits two specific types of signs - Spectacular Signs and Bandit Signs.
Typically have automatically changing advertising that changes more often than every five minutes (not including date, time, temperature, weather and stock market information).
Have blinking, rotating, moving, chasing, flashing, glaring, strobe, scintillating of spotlights or similar devices.
Has lights or colored elements creating a continuously moving, shimmering or prismatic effect, and/or rotating or moving parts.
Bandit signs are typically small and placed in large quantities along public spaces as esplanades. These signs include political, real estate, developer, and garage sale signs and other similar signs placed upon a public street, public sidewalk, public alley, public right-of-way, public curb or other public improvement, or on any public building or structure of any kind belonging to the city.
To report what you suspect to be an illegal sign, call the City of Houston's Sign Administration Office in the Code Enforcement Division at 832.394.8840.
13. There are trees hitting power lines on my street, who should I call?
Trees interfering with power lines should be reported to CenterPoint.
- More information on CenterPoint’s tree trimming and removal practices
Citizens concerned about CenterPoint tree trimming may contact customer service at 713.207.2222.
14. Who should I call regarding a beehive near my home?
The City of Houston does not handle bees except in the case of an emergency or an attack. If an emergency is in progress, call 9-1-1 and request the Fire Department. If a bee attack is not in progress, the citizen should contact a licensed beekeeper for hive removal.
15. There is a noisy club in my area. Who should I call?
Initially contact the 3-1-1 service request line to receive a service request number. To follow up on the request please call my office at 832.393.3001 or e-mail the office at email@example.com with your 3-1-1 service number. You may also report possible noise violations by calling HPD’s non-emergency line at 713.884.3131.
- To apply for a sound amplification permit or read the noise ordinance, visit Noise Ordinance (Sound Amplifying Equipment) web page.
- To protest a liquor license request, visit How to Protest a Liquor License Requests web page.
- For information regarding filing a complaint about possible violations of the law on TABC-licensed premises, visit the Liquor License Request Complaint Form web page.
16. How can I have a Quiet Zone study done in my area to prevent train horn noise?
The City of Houston has developed a Quiet Zone Program to address train horn noise near neighborhoods. Quiet Zones are segments of railroad lines where train crews are exempt from sounding the horn at grade crossings. However, the train engineer may use the train horn if there is any activity on or near the track that he or she deems to be unsafe. The program will enhance at-grade crossing safety while improving the quality of life for those neighborhoods adjacent to the railroad corridor being considered.
Unless a grade crossing is designated as a Quiet Zone, federal law requires that trains must sound the horn 15-20 seconds prior to arrival at a grade crossing. This means the train horn must be sounded continuously from about a ¼ mile in advance of a grade crossing until the train reaches the crossing.
There is currently a list of 10 areas that are petitioning for a Quiet Zone and the process is lengthy. Also, the costs of creating new intersections along cross streets that comply with federal regulations can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, in the current fiscal environment, funding is tight. I continue to follow this issue closely, and as soon as there are available funds for Quiet Zone programs, I will do my best to make certain that these areas are expanded.
- Learn more about Quiet Zone requirements for a Quiet Zone study in your area.
17. Additional Frequently Asked Questions Links
If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the At-Large 4 office at 832.393.3001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.