Roving inspectors scout out dirty streets for city

The city has a new set of eyes and ears on the ground to report cleanliness problems to 311, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The mayor announced the formation of the Street Conditions Observation Unit Thursday. A team of 15 SCOUT members will hit the streets on scooters in search of quality of life problems, such as dangling street signs, trash and bad roads.

The inspectors will then use BlackBerries to report the problems to city 311 operators.

"Cleanliness sends a message that residents care about the place that they call home," Bloomberg said of the program.

The mayor said inspectors will evaluate every city block at least once a month, but will not report violations that don't deal with cleanliness.Community leaders believe it's still up to Brooklyn and city residents to report problems.

"As a resident, we have to do our part as well," said Julie Dent, of Community Board 4. "If we see a pothole or sinkhole, we should [also] call up and report it."

Bloomberg said the new inspectors could report as many as $3,000 additional problems to 311 daily, but city officials said they don't expect to hire new staff to deal with the increased reports.

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