Unexpected Efficiencies Realized - Birch Bay Water and Sewer District, WA
Saving Time and Money!
With BoardDocs, the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District staff now spends time and money in more productive ways rather than managing paperwork and stuffing board binders.
Eliminating the Two Inch Board Binder
The Birch Bay Water and Sewer District Board meets twice per month, which used to require countless hours of updating seven two inch, 150-page board meeting binders. “A lot of time was spent on a very cumbersome paper system. Sorting agenda items in tabs and, perhaps, at the last minute reordering the documents because an agenda change was made,” said Sandi McMillan, Finance Director and Board Clerk of Birch Bay Water and Sewer District, WA.
“The biggest deficit with the old paper binder system was that the Commissioners didn’t have access to information prior to meetings. They received the binder at the board meeting and we talked over them while they tried to read each item. A deep comprehension of the agenda topics is important to discuss the information,” mentioned McMillan.
Birch Bay Water and Sewer found it difficult to search historical meetings with paper documents. McMillan commented, “We only had one board member that kept past board meeting binders. Even then it was hard to search paper documents. You have to remember which board meeting it was discussed at and then go back to try to find the information.”
Finding the Best Solution at the Right Price
The procurement process was long, the District researched eight different board management platforms. Most large solutions ranged in price from $40,000 to $50,000 down to BoardDocs which is actually the least expensive. “We listed each product’s pros and cons,” remarked McMillan. “We decided on BoardDocs because it is an off-the-shelf, turn-key product and required minimal internal IT support. BoardDocs has a number of functions including Meta and agenda search features, which are amazing.”
“If we are looking for information about a specific topic we use the BoardDocs’ Meta search feature and find rich, public information from over 2,000 BoardDocs subscribers,” stated McMillan.
BoardDocs LT - A Perfect Fit
Because of the District’s small, 13-person staff and a focus on water and sewer, they desired an intuitive, easy-to-use board management solution. For Birch Bay Water and Sewer District, BoardDocs LT is a perfect fit. BoardDocs LT provides a means of electronically publishing and revising agenda items and supporting documents while maintaining a search data repository. The District can quickly and easily create, approve and track agenda items and search historical information - and much more - for only $3,000 per year.
Surprising Efficiencies and Productive Conversations
“The District hasn’t looked back since implementing BoardDocs. After the initial onsite training, I’ve never had to call tech support - I’m not tech savy, so that says a lot. Also, our IT person doesn’t need to maintain anything on our system. The tablets we chose work great with BoardDocs,” noted McMillan.
“The biggest efficiency, that took us by pleasant surprise, is our increased level of conversation with board members. Commissioners get the agenda and handouts earlier and come to meetings prepared for discussions and with questions. We experience shorter board meetings.”
Other unexpected efficiencies that pleased the District are the board-related staff time savings and the reduction in cost of paper and color printer toner. Now staff can spend time and effort in different ways rather than just managing paperwork and stuffing board binders.
“BoardDocs was implemented to push for continued efficiencies in daily business at our District. It allows us to save considerable staff time while providing better communication to Board members and the public.”
Dan Eisses, General Manager, Birch Bay Water and Sewer District, WA
About Birch Bay Water and Sewer District
Birch Bay Water and Sewer District is a special purpose district providing water and wastewater services to about 14,000 people in northwest Whatcom County in Washington state. Although unincorporated, most of the District’s water and sewer service areas fall within an Urban Growth Area, which has been one of the most rapidly growing parts of the county. Formed in 1968, the District operates as a municipal government and the organization consists of 13 full-time employees.