City resumes records storage discussion

The city of Langley is continuing to ponder where to store records during its digitization process.

The city of Langley is continuing to ponder where to store records while they undergo a digitization process that could take years.

At a city council meeting this week, Mayor Scott Chaplin shared that he has found two local professionals who specialize in records management. He requested that the council approve a draft of a contract for up to $5,000 to work with one of the professionals, which they did so unanimously.

Faced with a looming deadline, staff must move city records from the basement of the Langley Library, which is set to undergo renovation soon. Though the records have been stored there for years, they are not included in Sno-Isle Libraries’ plan to remodel the space.

Chaplin reported that the downstairs level of the library, which measures about 1,000 square feet, has 13 bookshelves, 180 boxes and 15 file cabinets, a good amount of which are empty. The “dungeon,” as he called it, is also home to office supplies, surplus chairs, holiday decorations and obsolete items, such as a manual on how to use a slide rule.

The decision the council will ultimately have to make is whether to store the records in the council chambers at city hall, or someplace else.

While some council members were all for moving meetings to a different location, others were concerned about the security of the records in the council chambers.

One possible option is to move the records to a locked 300-square-foot room at the Langley United Methodist Church, which would cost $200 a month.

Planning Director Meredith Penny pointed out that with the number of citizen-led commissions that meet, it might make more sense to keep the council chambers open as a meeting room, rather than a storage room. She noted that city staff have to access records less often than meetings are held.

In the end, the council directed the mayor to work with the Finance and Personnel Legislative Commission, Finance Director Wanda Grone, city staff and the Langley Library to determine financial impacts and viable alternatives for records storage. As part of this, the mayor is creating an ad hoc committee focused on records reorganization that will convene for the next six to eight weeks.