Minnesota's Brown County is considering switching to paperless board meetings in a bid to save money, according to The New Ulm Journal.
Citing information from a recent Brown County Information Technology (IT) Department report, the news source explained that IT director Rich Meyer came up with an estimate of roughly how much could be saved by converting to paperless. Specifically, the county can expect to circumvent approximately $400 per year in costs associated with labor, paper and mailing by posting board meeting information online rather than putting together packets.
That said, the media outlet noted that the undertaking consists of more than simply putting the board agenda on the county's website, as that is just the first step of the multi-phase plan outlined by Meyer. Next, a laptop and screen will need to be purchased for the room where board meetings take place, and each commissioner must be equipped with a laptop or tablet.
Elsewhere in the country, Wisconsin's Houston County is planning a similar initiative, albeit on a larger scale, according to The La Crosse Tribune. Rather than confining its paperless efforts to the county boardroom, the six-person team that includes Houston County Court Administrator Darlene Larson recently kicked off a document imaging effort that will allow members of the public to access material such as county orders, notices and judgments online, as well as lessening judges' dependence on paper files.
"We're going to feel some pain right now with the work, but in the long run, there's benefit to us," Larson told the news source.
If all goes according to plan, the digitization project should be completed within about a year and a half, Larson predicted.
"It should be a money-saver for those who use it," she added.
In addition to realizing cost savings, the county will likely also benefit from the business process management advantages that come with eschewing paper files in favor of their electronic counterparts.
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