BurienCityCouncil2016-b by Jack Mayne It was help hiring night at the Burien City Council monthly study session Monday (Jan. 25) night with approval for spending $60,000 for facilitating strategic planning and $75,000 for a long overdue replacement of the city’s website that now “takes beautiful photos and makes them not so pretty.” The Council also approved dropping the price on surplus property in the Northeast Redevelopment Area from $4.85 million to $4.5 million because the potential buyer has found problems. $20k just in case The Council approved City Manager Kamuron Gurol’s request to hire a consultant for no more than $60,000 to facilitate a City Council Retreat and the city’s strategic planning process. The money is in Gurol’s professional services budget. He told the Council on Monday that he views the cost now at about $40,000 but wanted the extra in case of unexpected needs for added consultant work. “If we don’t need it, we won’t use it,” he said and Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said she hoped it would be for only $40,000. Gurol said the strategic plan would look ahead “five years to organize, align, and communicate Burien’s strategic priorities, guide work programs and develop the next two biennial budgets. The plan would provide a path toward our adopted vision and policy goals.” He said he liked 2020 as an ending goal. The city manager said his proposed consultant is Brian Murphy, a principal at Berk Consulting of Seattle and proposed times to work with the Council on Feb. 8 and 22. City website broken The Council also approved up to $75,000 to find a vendor to provide the city with a new website to be in place by the end of this August. Katie Whittier Trefry, the city’s communications manager, said it was time to update the nine-year old website to “improve its usability and functionality.” “Our website is so difficult to manage from the staff level that it becomes the big barrier to having fresh content,” Trefry said. “Our website takes beautiful photos and makes them not so pretty.” “There are things broken” on the functioning of the site, she said, adding it needs to be updated or replaced with more modern functions. She said websites are generally getting more visual but the city’s is text heavy. “Our website fails to portray who we are as a city,” Trefry told the Council. “We are accessible, we are transparent, we are customer service driven and we are innovative. Our website doesn’t reflect that. It is not compatible to mobile use where 26 percent of the users come from.” The new site should be easily searched rather than having to page through until or if they are able to find what is needed. The site needs to be connected with such services as permitting and payment systems and it needs to be secure. Councilmember Nancy Tosta moved that the project go ahead “for all the things Katie talked about.” Problems cost money The Council gave preliminary approval for reducing its sale price of approximately 12 acres of city-owned land in the Northeast Redevelopment Area from $4.85 million to $4.5 million, based on additional site and project development costs discovered by pending buyer Latitude Development of Auburn. The had bought the former Sunny Terrace property for $2.3 million from Highline Public Schools in 2013, along with a neighboring 4-acre parcel at 860 S. 146th Street for $750,000. Dan Trimble, the city’s economic development manager, told the Council the key interest for the city is to promptly bring the land into productive use. “Without a change in price terms, there is a risk of the project not moving forward,” he said. The Council also heard from Highline Historical Society executive director Cyndi Upthegrove about its new 6,900 square foot museum located on the corner of Ambaum Boulevard SW and SW 152nd Street in Burien. She said “our goal” is to have a “soft opening by the next holiday season.” Councilmembers also approved an interlocal agreement between Burien and Tukwila to allow their city attorneys to each evaluate each other’s public defense programs. City Attorney Soojin Kim said the evaluation would provide that the cities respective attorneys are providing proper services. Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz was excused from the meeting.]]>