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  Let's Go Paperless
by Soapbox
05:07PM / Monday, February 06, 2012
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This is from Ward 6 Councilor John Krol's eblast today. His switch to digital immediately caught our attention. With the associated costs - nearly $4,000 a year for paper alone! - zipping councilors "the packet" (as we in the know like to call it) over the ether makes loads of sense. Digital also means the average citizen gets far better access to these public documents than ever before. The city clerk's office has been diligent about posting meeting agendas and, where possible, relevant documents. So in terms of saving money and time and getting information out efficiently, digital is the way to go.

I would like to thank City Clerk Linda Tyer for agreeing to print out one less city council packet, as I have officially gone paperless for council meetings - which I hope will be a trend that can be extended throughout city government.

The bulky (and often, very bulky) city council packet that councilors use for a reference costs an average of $170 per meeting for paper alone. Add the additional costs of ink/toner, wear and tear on city hall copiers, and the time and energy of staff who put it all together - and a simple transition away from paper benefits everyone.

With the packet now fully digital in pdf form, all councilors, and everyone with an internet connection, has access to view every letter, petition, and additional pieces of information that make up the full council packet. Personally, I'll be using an IPad 2, however, there are various devices that can used today for this purpose and Clerk Tyer is working on a capital request that would eliminate the costly practice of printing out the bulky packets. More important, I hope this measure will help lead the way to eliminating the use of unnecessary paper and postage in City Hall, city government and the schools. This includes the practice of mailing hard copy agendas for our subcommittee meetings, school committee meetings, and other notices - which can all be transmitted electronically and/or made available online.

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