Council mulls swapping budget books for iPads

AUBURN — Councilors are scheduled to discuss Tuesday replacing  some of the mountains of printed paper and notebooks they go through each year with  iPads.

"(Councilor Mike Farrell) has made mention of it a couple of times, and he thinks there is some efficiency there," City Manager Glenn Aho said.

The topic is part of their workshop agenda, which is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Auburn Hall. The workshop will be followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m.

Farrell could not be reached for comment Monday.

According to city budget documents, general office supply costs for the city manager, the city clerk and the mayor and City Council amount to about $1,050 per year. That pays for day-to-day supplies and printed copies of weekly agendas and information about issues councilors will vote on. It also pays for the notebooks full of printed paper devoted to the annual budget.

Aho said the iPads wouldn't replace all printing and office supply costs, but they would reduce them. 

"And there would be other efficiencies," Aho said. "Ideally, it would greatly reduce the amount of time staff spends printing, collating and assembling those documents. And, councilors would have everything there with them — all of their e-mails, all of their attachments and PDFs."

Aho said the city could purchase four iPads for city councilor use. If the iPads are equipped with 3G networking, it would cost $3,068 for four of the tablet computers with cases and protection plans. If they are purchased without 3G, they would cost the city $2,548.

"Four would be the best place to start, because I know that some of the councilors wouldn't want one at all. They just don't care about computers."

If councilors approve, they would purchase the tablet computers with money from the sale of city properties.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

!!!

Holy cow Doreen, I guess you're against technology, but just because you don't understand, it doesn't mean that it wont benefit you in the long run. (and I wasn't calling you a cow)

JOHN PAINTER's picture

Using technology correctly

I think Auburn is going down the correct path exploring this option, I hope Lewiston considers a similar option, though it will, in my experience have some challenges as people learn how to use the iPad - iOS and touch screen, getting it to interact correctly with some of the popular local email systems exchanges (Time Warner, Microsoft Outlook) but in the end will indeed accomplish what the city hopes, and then some.

After teaching a class at Lewiston Adult Ed to local people on how to use iOS devices https://www.lewistonadulted.org/courses.php?q=search&s=200980531.1.311 particularly the iPad, and writing for iPhone Life Magazine, I am certain Manager Aho will be able to accomplish what he has outline, and then some. For example using the iPad to make low cost/no cost phone calls with apps like "Whistle" or "Skype", several people working on one document with "cloud computing" feature of "iWork", doing statistical analysis with "Biostatistics 1.0" etc, etc. Manager Aho is just hitting the tip of the iceberg (or is that iCeberg?) of what the iPad could do for the city.

Auburn in my opinion, is correctly using affordable off the shelf technology in a practical, effective and efficient way to doing city business, not eliminating paper per se (paper has an important place) but reducing its use and human time spent shuffling it. I think in time the Managers strategy can help the city with it's stated goals for reducing some costs, while further moving Maine into the 21st century in use of technology - our technology infrastructure and savvy is important to making Maine a great place to do business.  I used personal iPad for taking all official minutes for the Lewiston Auburn Community Forest Board and distributing minutes to Board members.

Good luck Manager Aho.

 's picture

Sorry

I certainly did not intend to post my original statement so many times. It just would not send, so I kept hitting the save.

 's picture

cost effective?

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

cost effective?

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

cost effective?

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

cost effective?

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

cost effective?

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

cost effective?

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

toy??

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

toy??

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

toy??

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

 's picture

toy??

Since some councilors will not use Ipads, there will still be paper necessary. I would think they would wait until the cost of Ipads goes down. I think the use of computers have made our work lives better, however, I have never found them to reduce the amount of paper needed. One still needs hard copies. Plus, some of us older people have difficulty proofing and digesting from the computer screen.

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