LETTER: ‘Contrary to City Manager’s Claim, BERK Report Not a Business Plan’
Regarding the item “Part 2: Council Adopted Annexation Biz Plan” by Ralph Nichols:
The section of the editorial covering the “Annexation Business Plan” ended with the statement by the City Manager that “the new BERK report estimated the costs of annexing this area, including hiring additional city staff, and how city services there will be managed and paid for. This is what’s required in a business plan, and the BERK report does that.”
Although the City Manager may believe deeply in his heart that this is true, the BERK Draft Report (even with the word Draft removed) was never and still is not a business plan. Even BERK referred to it as an annexation study exercise. On the first page of the Executive Summary, the BERK report states, “It is important to note that this is a financial policy study and not a budget development exercise.” (Originally bolded in BERK report.) And, BERK said that at the end of 11 years the City of Burien could be in debt in excess of $91.5 + million dollars, with no visible income as a means of paying this off. This is hardly good business. Additionally, BERK did not use an independent information source to confirm the data the city staff gave them as estimates. There are no stepped progressions for this plan and none of the local businesses were consulted for its accuracy. When the Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP) attempted to comment on it, their spokesperson was removed from the BEDP by the City Council per Mr. Martin’s urgings.
In the context of Nichols editorial there were no reports of interviews with anyone from the other side of the issue as to whether they thought the BERK Report was a business plan. Contrary to the City Manager’s claim, the BERK Report is not a business plan and the earlier BERK Reports, were not business plans either. If they were, BERK would have called them that and requested compensation for all the additional work that would be required. Also there was no evidence provided that the City Council voted to accept the BERK Report as a business plan as Martin and Greenberg claim.
Without documented proof that the BERK report was developed and provided to the city as a Business Plan, it is only a feasibility study and thus the city is in violation of its own comprehensive plan.
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