In the age of paperless bills and online bill pay, the Burke Centre Conservancy decided to follow those trends in the name of convenience.
"We’re moving into the future," said Kala Quintana, the Woods neighborhood trustee and an advocate of the new site.
The Conservancy’s Web site [www.burkecentre.org] currently features a calendar of events, various documentation of the Conservancy’s policies and terms of reference, and information about charter organizations, among other items. But residents will soon have a lot more at their fingertips, thanks to a redesign that will turn the Conservancy office into a 24-7 operation.
"They can take care of what they need to online and not worry about whether the conservancy office is open," said Quintana.
The online bill pay allows busy residents an added convenience they have been asking for, said Jeannie Winslow, the Conservancy’s administration director. The site will also feature a personal account section for residents, and a private section for trustees and staff.
"People are so busy that sometimes you don’t have time to call during normal business hours," said Quintana. "The Web site is like a virtual staff member, in a way, for people to turn to."
Everyone in Burke Centre will have an access name and password for their accounts, said Winslow. The banking portion of the site will likely be the greatest convenience for residents, said Patrick Gloyd, Burke Centre’s executive director. People who do not want to mail or drop off payments can use a credit card or check to pay online.
"It’s really a modern site; we’re excited about that," said Gloyd.
Quintana said she’s happy the Conservancy is catching up to technology. Quintana is the only Board of Trustees member who has a Web site specifically for the neighborhood she represents, the Woods. She posts her contact information, meetings, calendars and news updates relevant to her constituents. The new Burke Centre site will have trustee pages also, so each trustee has the option of communicating to residents as much as possible via the Web.
"To me, communication is the one thing that we can always do better. It’s the one thing that helps diffuse potential conflict," said Quintana. "When there’s a lack of communication, that’s when people get upset."
The open lines of communication via the Internet are also going to feature key-word-searchable documents, such as Burke Centre’s governing documents, laws and bylaws.
"The goal is to archive all the written documents into cyberspace," said Quintana. "What if Burke Centre Conservancy office burned down tomorrow? If it’s in cyberspace, it’s always going to be backed up."
The Web site will also feature board meeting and work session minutes. Gloyd said the board packets will also be electronic, rather than printing and distributing them before each meeting.
The Conservancy doesn’t plan on eliminating its current methods and replacing them with the Web, though. Not everyone has Internet access, so the office doors will remain open for anyone who cannot — or does not want — to use the site’s new features. People are becoming more comfortable with technology, though, said Quintana, which is why she predicts the site will be a big hit. The staff and board members are currently reviewing the drafts, and should have it up and running sometime in June.
"[The new site] will allow people to have better access than people have ever had in Burke Centre," she said.