Hatboro Borough Councilman Bill Tompkins has four drawers full of borough documents – and that’s after periodic shredding.
Papers from the routine one-quarter-inch-thick packets add up, Tompkins said during this week’s capital budget meeting. His solution? Consider switching to an electronic format for delivery of government-related paperwork.
In the end, Tompkins estimated that the council’s transition to iPads, or laptops - which he estimated would cost about $1,000 per person - could be a time-saver for borough staff charged with putting together 14 copies of borough packets for the council’s twice-monthly meetings. Other communications, including budget reports, are printed out 12 times a year, Tompkins said, adding that it would make more sense to have it in an Excel spreadsheet so corrections could be made easier and without wasting paper.
Assistant Borough Secretary Diane Hegele said she uses about 5,000 sheets of paper every two weeks putting together packets for the seven-member council, mayor and borough professionals.
At that rate, Tompkins estimated that Hatboro could save between $800 and $1,000 a year in printing-related costs.
But, Council President John Zygmont pointed out that a paper-free approach would cost the borough in up-front expenses.
“There’s going to be training on some people that are sitting up here because they’re not as functional on all this stuff as you are,” Zygmont said. “This isn’t the time to sit here and think if we’re going to do it or not.”
The Horsham Township Council spent $3,700 in June to purchase five iPads for use and storage of government documents. The move is expected to save $1,000 a year, Horsham officials have said.
Zygmont said it would be fine to receive his packet by email. In all likelihood he would print out 75 percent of it for easier reading because he sees no need to pay for new technology.
“I don’t want an iPad, iPod, any of that crap,” Zygmont said. “I don’t have a laptop. I can read stuff on my phone.”
Do you think Hatboro officials should consider going paperless? Tell us in the comments.