Dayton City Council may soon do away with their inches thick council packets. Instead, they have asked city staff to research the cost benefits of issuing each council member an iPad. Council members and staff think using iPads could be a cost savings on paper, photocopying, gas and time. Twice a month, city staff prepares city council meeting agendas that are often 30 or more double-sided pages. Sometimes the packets twice that size. After preparing the council member’s copies, a staff person hand delivers them. With an iPad, staff could save time and costs by simply sending them electronically and council could pull them up on the screens to easily read them.
“I don’t want to have to store hard copies anywhere,” said council member Eric Lucero who voiced he was strongly in favor of the concept. “This way they can be retained electronically and can be backed up.”
Mayor Tim McNeil favored the idea because it moves the council forward technologically and puts accountability on them for communication with residents.
“It forces us into a web environment. If our internet and website is not working, it gets fixed faster because there will be more of us complaining,” he said. McNeil also liked the idea that the technology would allow council members to have some blogging capabilities.
They discussed other ways the technology would be useful, such as receiving packets for the commissions they serve on, accessing email from them and other ideas.
City Administrator Samantha Orduno is expected to bring back some findings on cost analysis for the iPads and training to go along with them at a future meeting, possibly as soon as the Feb. 12 council meeting. Council consensus was that the funding would come from the communications fund which is funded through the cable royalties. The city estimates the fund will earn approximately $29,000 this year, depending on the number of cable hook-ups there are in the city for 2013. Currently, the communications fund has a balance of $61,700.
Currently the Dayton Communicator, the city’s quarterly newsletter is funded through the communications fund. McNeil would also like to see if the fund could be used to provide some type of webcasting or internet-streaming of meetings. That idea, along with other communications improvement ideas will be the purview of public safety commission in the months to come. Lucero is the council liaison on the public safety commission.
Contact Mindy Mateuszczyk at [email protected]