The city of Soldotna is expediting the move to paperless politics.
For a recent Planning and Zoning Commission special meeting, each commissioner was handed a behemoth packet containing property plans, signatures and letters and the applicant’s filing and appeal for a daycare.
“Our copier ran last Friday for just about eight hours straight printing out paper for that meeting,” said City Manager Mark Dixson. “There were probably just over 200 pages for each packet.”
For that reason, Dixson instructed the City Clerk Shellie Saner to purchase the planning department a set of iPads ahead of the original schedule.
The allocation for the devices was included in the Planning and Zoning department budget for the 2015 Fiscal Year, reported City Planner Stephanie Queen in a March 3, 2014 commission meeting packet.
“Packets for Planning and Zoning are getting to the point where, not only for the copier, but for he staff time putting those packets together it takes us a lot of time and money,” Dixson said. “It would be more efficient just to put them on an iPad.”
The city council is also budgeted to receive iPads, and the commission was scheduled to get their devices after the council, Dixson said.
Soldotna is not the only local governing body going paperless. The Kenai Peninsula Borough listed their iPad purchase as one of the largest sources of savings in the 2014 fiscal year Efficiencies Report.
Last year the Kenai Peninsula Borough gave Assembly members iPads for meetings, according to the 2014 fiscal year Efficiencies Report.
In the report Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship said the switch saved the borough $14,000 annually. Putting documents on iPads saved paper, photocopy costs and reduced staff labor from four full work-days to two full work-days for putting packets together.
The cost of software per assembly member was $19.95 plus the cost of the devices, according to the report. The shift in resource utilization helped the Borough save $327,500 last year.
Because the process of purchasing the iPads through the city’s Information Technology department is not complete, the expense for the switch is not finalized, Saner said.
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