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Castlegar council pans paper; switches to computerized meeting materials
City council is chasing the green - environmental and cash savings - with the move to paperless council meetings, according to councillor Kevin Chernoff.
"We started thinking about it a year ago, through the Green Committee, and started implementing it in June - I was the first to make the switch," he said, adding now four of six councillors have been trained on iPads and the others should be up to speed in a matter of weeks. Senior city staff are working off iPads or laptops, he added.
He said the printing cost savings for meetings alone will be about $5,207 annually - easily off-setting the initial equipment/tech costs which he estimated at less than $3,000 ... and that's not counting paper or labour.
"Yearly costs to run paper meetings are $7,007. Yearly costs to run paperless meetings are $1,800. This means that going paperless saves the city (and taxpayers) approximately $5,207 annually," he said. "And printing is labour-intensive - as page 354 of a meeting agenda comes out on a copier, a paper jam causes several pages to be torn and sends a staff member back to her desk to re-print, then re-sort, the lost pages. That staff member will spend an hour or two babysitting print jobs for council meetings when he/she could be doing more productive tasks.
"At this point, I don't see a downside. We have passwords and security built into them (iPads/laptops), and even iPad's version of a GPS locator in case they get stolen," he said. "We, as councillors, will have a lot more access to data coming out of City Hall, as opposed to the time delay with paper versions - this way, it's pretty much instant."
And this hasn't even touched on the environmental upsides, he said.
"For council meetings, the city prints approximately 100,100 sheets of paper annually and most of this end up in the recycle bin. The City of Castlegar is committed to reducing as part of its Green initiatives."
For more information, contact City Hall at 250-365-7227.