Help with County Complaint Filing System

Baltimore County provides two different online systems for filing complaints (including a "smart" phone app using CitySourced. (The previous capability through the Accela "Citizens Access" was removed).

These each provide a capability to enter complaints as well as to query the status (of your own complaints). In effect, the CitySourced system provides a different user interface for entry and serves as a front-end to the Accela System. Complaints entered via CitySourced are assigned a numeric "tracking number" (e.g., 42357) which they don't always tell you and the data is then transferred to the Accela system where a regular Code Enforcement case number (e.g., CC1901234) is assigned, which results in you getting an e-mail with this number.


Instructions for web form using CitySourced system #1 (to file complaint)

Link: Request Service or Report a Problem (Opens in new window so you can keep this one opened for guidance.)

1. Choose a Report Type

This form is fairly straight-forward. First you select the category and subcategory of complaint. Here is a complete list, all on one page, of the categories and subcategories provided by the pull-down menus. Unfortunately, it does not include commonly used categories:

This page also provides links or phone numbers for reporting other issues.

Many of these categories do not end up filing a complaint to Code Enforcement, but are handling by other departments. It is not clear that the receiving department passes it on to another to handle when appropriate.

  • Budget and Finance
    • Bids, disbursements and vendors
    • Parking, red light, and speed camera violations
    • Personal injury and property claims
    • Property taxes
    • Other budget and finance problems
  • Building and Development **
    • Building without a permit
    • Electrical work without a permit
    • Grading work without a permit
    • Plumbing work without a permit
  • Neighborhood Issues **
    • Excessive animal feces in neighbor's yard
    • Inoperable vehicle on private property
    • Junk, trash or debris on private property
    • Neighbor's trash can without lid
    • Poor living conditions in a rental home
    • Rats
    • Tall grass and weeds in yard
    • Other code complaint
  • Pets and Animal Issues **
    • Animal bite
    • Animal confined
    • Animal shows signs of rabies
    • Dangerous or menacing animal
    • Dead animal pickup
    • Excessive barking
    • Pet out of yard or roaming
    • Pet waste was left in my yard
    • Sick or injured animal
    • Wildlife complaint
    • Other animal complaint
  • Roads and Sidewalk Issues *
    • Driveway blocked by plowed snow
    • Icy conditions
    • Property damaged by county
    • Unplowed road
    • Fallen tree or limb
    • Flooded road
    • Overgrown trees, bushes or grass near roadway
    • Paving or re-paving needed
    • Pothole
    • Sidewalk or curb repair needed
    • Street cleaning needed
    • Trash on roadside
    • Other road or sidewalk complaint
  • Traffic
    • Handicap parking
    • Road marking
    • Traffic related signage
    • Traffic signals
    • Other
  • Trash and Recycling Issues *
    • Can or lid lost or damaged
    • Property damage during collection
    • Recycling not collected
    • Request to start new collection
    • Trash not collected
    • Yard waste not collected
    • Other trash and recycling problem
  • Unregistered Rental Property Issues **
    • Unregistered Rental Property
  • Water and Sewer
    • Sewer
    • Stormwater
    • Water supply
  • Website
    • Broken link
    • Typo/misspelling
    • Out of date information
    • Technical error message
    • Other
  • Other
    • General

 *  choices that require entry of your name, e-mail, and phone number.
** choices that require entry of your name, address, e-mail, and phone number.

2. Location

The location can be entered in one of two ways:

  • Pick spot on map - you can zoom in to a specific property. If you intentionally pick the middle of an intersection (like for an illegal "snipe" sign, flooded road, or dead deer, the system arbitrarily picks a nearby address which may not even be on the same road. While this may be fine to get the inspector to the right place, if they then look for the violation or problem, it sometimes does not work and, if it does, further actions (citations, etc.) are likely to be recorded against that address, which has nothing to do with the violation.
  • Enter "nearest street address". Sometimes the system can't find an address that is a real one, so you have to use the map.
Several cases have been found in which the system arbitrarily changed a valid address to another nearby one for entry into the system. I think this has been fixed, but you need to watch it.

3. Your contact information

Remember that anything you enter is available to anyone. Although it says "we require some basic contact info ..." it seems that you can enter in bogus info and the complaint will still be handled. I enter in a real email so I can get status updates, but one that cannot be traced to me.

This method does not allow for uploading photos or documents.

After you have reported a problem or issue, the system replies with 2 e-mails, but they do not return a tracking number, which is needed to do a look-up. Instead, they contain a case number. Unfortunately, that e-mail does not identify which issues it was (in case you filed multiple). Check each case number using the method described below to find which address or issue it was for.

Note that, while this system appears to provide a way to submit comments/concerns on an assortment of issues, not all of which are Code Enforcement, it seems that Code Enforcement has some part is reviewing all entries. Back in December 2018, I used it to submit comments to the New County Executive regarding my belief that certain management individuals should be replaced. That case is now "closed" but shows in the status "Being reviewed by Code Enforcement" and I got an e-mail from one of the persons I said should be replaced quoting my comment to replace him. It had been submitted as "County Executive Office issue", which no longer appears as a possible category.


Instructions for web form using CitySourced system #2 - BALTCOGO (to file complaint)

Link: BALTCOGO (Opens in new window so you can keep this one opened for guidance.) There is also a "Smart" phone app for this. You're on your own there as I am too dumb to use a smart phone.

This system allows entry of the same information as described above for #1, but it is entered in a very different, and non-intuitive, manner. You are always required to set up an account (the same one as you may have used in #1 above) but there is a choice to "keep confidential".

Some hints:

  • To initially log in, you have to select "Create a request" even if your purpose is something else.
  • The icon of little horizontal lines in the upper left corner opens a menu for "Service Requests", "Services", "What's New", "Notifications", "Maps", "General", and "Settings". Only the first is related to Code Complaints and allows one to "Create a Request", look at "My Requests", or "Nearby Requests". While the first two are obvious, the "Nearby Requests" is weird. It provides a random list of "Roads and Sidewalk Issues", miles from your location.
  • The arrows ">" at the far right are used to go to the details for that item.
  • The "filter" function on the display (upper left) of "Nearby Requests" does not work. The system seems to default to only showing "Roads and Sidewalks" so anything else fails.
  • When entering a request, you essentially go through the same steps as above for system #1, select category, pick location, provide description and your personal info (even though you've signed into your account).
  • At the completion of each part, you need to click "Done" at the upper right corner (rather than a more intuitive "Next").
  • Photos, videos, or audio files may be uploaded. File types allowed are: .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .mp4, .mov, .m4v, .mpg, .mpeg, .mp3, .m4a. It is unknown why PDF cannot be uploaded. That should be the normal way to upload a detailed complaint letter. Guess you can take a photo or movie of your letter. Note that the system seems to crop the bottom and top of vertical photos, so make sure that the important part is not in the part that is likely to be cropped.
  • After choosing a location from the map, it arbitrarily picks a nearby address. If it's the middle of an intersection, or a vacant lot, it goes into the record against some unsuspecting nearby resident or business, who might then get the citation. (I've seen it happen).
  • The is no way to select a vacant lot. (The old system that was removed allowed the entry of the tax ID for a vacant lot.)
  • After selecting a spot on the map, click on the top bar ("Set Location") to see where the system thinks it is. In any case of ambiguity, you should add text to the description saying where the violation is or is not.
  • The form provides a "Keep this request confidential" choice, but it is unknown how this would stand up in the face of a Public Information Act request.

Categories in this system:
  • Building and Development **
    • Building in Disrepair
    • Building without a permit
  • Neighborhood Issues **
    • Junk, trash or debris on private property
    • Poor living conditions in a rental home
    • Tall grass and weeds in yard
    • Inoperable vehicle on private property
    • Excessive animal feces in neighbor's yard
    • Neighbor's trash can without lid
    • Rats
    • Other code complaint
  • Pets and Animal Issues **
    • Dead animal pickup
    • Excessive barking
    • Pet out of yard or roaming
    • Pet waste was left in my yard
  • Roads and Sidewalk Issues *
    • Pothole
    • Storm Inlet Clogged
    • Paving or re-paving needed
    • Sidewalk or curb repair needed
    • Trash on roadside
    • Street cleaning needed
    • Overgrown trees, bushes or grass near roadway
    • Fallen tree or limb
    • Property damaged by county
    • Driveway blocked by plowed snow
    • Unplowed road
    • Flooded road
    • Icy conditions
    • Other road or sidewalk complaint
  • Trash and Recycling Issues *
    • Can or lid lost or damaged
    • Property damage during collection
    • Recycling not collected
    • Request to start new collection
    • Trash not collected
    • Yard waste not collected
    • Other trash and recycling problem
  • Unregistered Rental Property Issues **
    • Unregistered Rental Property

Note: This system has lots of problems. If you want to file a complaint that does not fit within these specific categories, try the #1 approach (detailed at the beginning of this page).

  *   doesn't ask your address
 **  asks for your address
*** asks for your address and details about the animal. So, to report a dead animal for pickup, you're asked what its sex is. (At least "unknown" is a choice.) Further, if you click on the location (by a road), the system reports it as some nearby address, which may not even be on the same road.


Instructions for looking up the status of an issue on the CitySourced system #1

This is difficult to use, as the process to file a complaint does not return the Tracking Number that is required to use this function. It really doesn't matter, since it provides virtually no useful information. But, if you do somehow find the number, use the following:

Link: Follow-up on Issue







Enter tracking number, which you should have received via e-mail (but didn't). (Not a case number like CC1812345.)

Although the form says that your e-mail address as "required", it is unknown why, since this seems to work without it.

Unfortunately, this does not return information about the complaint - the description entered - so you can only guess what it is about if someone else opened the case. It generally only shows that it has been accepted, the category and subcategory, and if it has been transferred to the Accela system (with case number). This system does not provide any means to search by address. You must use the Accela system for that.

If you enter your e-mail address (thinking reasonably that it will display all of the complaints filed under this e-mail, you get an error message: "We're having trouble looking up this record. Please call 410-887-2450 to verify your tracking number". Don't bother calling this number; it's the County Executive's main number. I doubt that he can help you, but maybe he needs to be informed of the problems with this system.


Instructions for looking up the status of your own issues on the CitySourced system #2

Link: Follow-up on issue

This is the same page as used to file a complaint. After clicking the "menu" icon , under "Service Requests" select "My requests" to see a list of all requests you've filed. (See hints above under how to file a complaint.) It gives the Tracking Number and the CE case number. It is best to then use the legacy Acella system to see the status.

There is no way (as far as I can find), to look up the status of some one else's complaint using this tool.

Note that the list initially shows only "in process" cases. Using Filter, you can show all, including "closed".

Also note that the form seems to provide a blank at the bottom to enter comments. It is unknown where this goes (if anywhere). When you enter a comment, it shows your "citizen's number".

It is unknown what the selection "Nearby requests" means or how it works. For example, putting in a particular address returns a long list of "Traffic" issues (even though the filter is set to "all") that are nowhere near that address.


Instructions for Accela Self Service Portal (to file complaint)

This portion of the Citizen's Access system was removed the evening of October 26, 2018, just one more step in the previous administration's attempt to inhibit citizens from access to government information and services.


Instructions/hints for Accela Self Service Portal (to search for complaint)

Link: Accela - search

Important: Unless you specifically want to see a complete list of all of your own complaints, make sure that you are not logged in when trying to use this system.

You should see a page like this: (instruction/hints on the right)

The use of this form does not require that you log-in. If you do log-in, it operates differently. See below.







You can enter:
A single address
A range of addresses
Just the ZIP code
Just the street name
Case number (eg, CC1812345)

(The street type and ZIP Code are not needed if you enter an address.)

The page displaying the data for a single case looks like this:




It is unknown what the pull-down menu for "Custom Component" is for.

Pull down menu for "Record Info" provides:
Application details - address, complaint description - This is default 1st page.
Processing Status - dates of submission, inspections, final action - actually rather useless. (This used to show all inspections and rescheduling (delay) of inspections, but these were removed shortly after I referred to this data in a complaint to the County Exec regarding CE's failure to prosecute some cases for 2 years.)
Attachments - copies of correction notices, citations, hearing results, liens. (Photos taken by inspectors used to be here. They were removed after I referred to them in a complaint about an inspector's mishandling of cases.)

Hint: When a single case is displayed, the Record Info/Processing Status does not show the date filed. To see the date, select any display that shows a list of cases, such as by selecting a range of address that include the desired one.

If you do log-in, the system initially displays a complete list of all cases filed under this user ID since the beginning of 2018. Sometimes this really gets in the way, for example, after requesting a list of all cases for a particular address and displaying a specific one, the browser's "Back" button takes you to the complete list of your own complaints, not back 1 step to a redisplay of the list for the selected address. The only known way around this problem is to log-out and re-request the display.


Updated 10 July 2019