More councils convert to electronic document systems

January 4th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document and Information Capture

Increasingly, towns have been devising paperless strategies for a wide range of benefits.

The Whitby Town Council made the decision to utilize conversion services for electronic agendas that will make all documentation viewable on an iPad mobile app at meetings, according to the Metroland's Durham Region. The system is expected to cut down on $42,000 in paper, ink, printing, distribution and time costs annually. Additionally, approximately 400 trees are estimated to be saved over the next five years as a result of the change.

Debi Wilcox, the town clerk, cited sustainability as one of the town's key objectives in implementing the paperless strategy. This new electronic system reduces paper use as well as cuts down on the amount of time wasted by staff in the course of printing, filing and distributing agendas. Digital formatting of these documents also makes it easier for the public and officials to follow along from item to item on personal devices during meetings.

The Watertown Town Council is another local government body considering a paperless transition. According to the Watertown Tab, the new system eliminates the printing of council packets. Instead, the town manager will create an electronic version of the documents and email them to officials, saving an estimated 70,000 sheets of paper every year.

Town Councilor Cecilia Lenk is optimistic about the effects the electronic document system will have on town communications between officials and residents.

"We can't wait to get information once a week as was done in the past," she explained, "By receiving documents as soon as available via email, we get information promptly and become much more efficient."

More and more town councils are experiencing improvements in information management, including reduced expenditures and increased productivity, by converting to an electronic system.

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