Vail ponders new laptops, paperless system
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” The Vail Town Council is considering going completely paperless, a move that would require almost $40,000 in laptops and programs.
The idea is for the council and its staff to stop using paper for its work documents and sometimes hefty Town Council packets. Instead, town information would be posted online and town officials and staff would work from a program that would allow them to make notes electronically.
The paperless system would increase efficiency, save paper, and make town information more readily accessible to the community, the town’s information technology staff said.
To go completely paperless, the town would need to purchase laptops and software for the seven-member council and some of the staff. The cost would be about $40,000, but town information technology director Ron Braden said that the money saved in staff time and paper would make the investment cost-neutral.
The town has already taken some no-paper measures. The staff already does much of its council agenda communication electronically. Also, the Community Development Department is already working toward a system that would allow plans to be submitted to the town completely electronically, said department head George Ruther.
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However, some council members were hesitant to go all the way and purchase the laptops, especially after recent budget cuts and layoffs in January.
Councilman Mark Gordon said that while he wants the town to be more efficient and environmentally friendly, now is not the time to buy the computers.
“In a year where some positions are eliminated, the fact that we’re even contemplating spending $40,000 to duplicate a system that already exists seems pretty ridiculous to me,” he said.
It might be an option when the economy turns around, he said.
Mayor Dick Cleveland said he was skeptical that an all-paperless system would save money.
“It would end up costing more than it saves, that’s just my guess,” he said. “In the situation this economy is in, we’re not in the position to spend this money.”
He added that it would be a difficult transition from paper council packets to electronic packets. He suggested that the town should see how paperless systems work at other municipalities, such as Eagle County and the town of Gypsum.
The Town Council discussed the topic at last week’s council meeting and asked town staff to get more specific information on the costs and savings of the paperless system.
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.