The Buckley city council discussed streamlining city business during their April 27 meeting.
Council member Connie Bender was absent, and one of the council seats is currently vacant, so the seven-seat council was down to five members.
The council voted 4-1 to approve a resolution purchasing a contract with Seamless Docs, an online service allowing the city to digitize much of their document management.
The program itself costs about $12,800 for one year of coverage, and the city will pay an additional $1,700 for six hours of on-boarding, for a total of roughly $15,700 after tax.
Council member Ron Smith asked whether the service – which allows the public to fill out forms using the internet – could unintentionally make it harder for those who can’t or won’t use the computers to take care of business with the city.
City Administrator Paul Weed said it would not. The service only provides another avenue for citizens to file their data and for the city to process it, Weed said – physical paperwork will remain available for those who need it.
“It streamlines a tremendous amount of business activity,” Weed said.
Council member Marvin Sundstrom, who provided the lone ‘No’ vote, cautioned against embracing technologies that can be esoteric and confusing for those who don’t use computers often.
“We just finished doing a lot of processing of paperwork … through an outfit called DocuSign,” Sundstrom said. “DocuSign sits there at about $200 a share, working really well for the stockholders. But it doesn’t work real well for the people trying to use it.”
Sundstrom also raised a microscope to the contract’s cost for training.
“From what I see, each individual involved with this will need 99 hours of training,” Sundstrom said. “99 hours from a part-time job makes it really a part time job. Plus the cost each year, which is about equivalent to half the salary of a staff member. I just have a little bit of issue with it.”
“The city of Bonney Lake … has SeamlessDocs as well, (and) they have seen tremendous improvement in customer service and in their planning and building department,” Weed said. “This is a very well known and widely used … company. I can assure you we will not spend anywhere near one-tenth of 90 hours in training staff on this software system. That is my commitment today before you.”
THE COUNCIL ALSO:
• Indicated support, informally, for a future ordinance establishing a 6 p.m. council meeting start time.
• Unanimously approved a resolution upgrading the city website, which is maintained by GovOffice. The new site will be more mobile-friendly, easier to navigate and have more functionality, according to the contract. The contract with GovOffice will extend for three years, with a cost of $4133 per year.
• Unanimously approved a bill subleasing a Collins Road property which the city leases from the state Department of Social and Health Services to Ken Carel of Flying K-C Livestock for five years. The business will use the approximately 39.53 acres for farmland and storing feed and livestock. The city will charge roughly $12,500 in rent the first year and about $400 more each year.
• Unanimously approved a bill extending the city fire department’s protection of the DSHS Rainier School property, which was set to expire June 30 of this year.
• Unanimously approved a bill formalizing the city’s procedures and responsibilities with the Pierce County mass notification system, which is used to broadcast safety information during emergencies.