PARRY SOUND – In keeping with ongoing attempts to save money, town council is considering making its council meetings paperless.
The idea was brought forward to council earlier this month by Coun. Dave Williams, requesting staff provide a report and recommendation on possibility going paper-free.
“The idea is that all documents would be distributed through electronic means rather than paper copies of the material,” wrote Williams in an email following the council meeting. “Each time council meets, we are provided with paper copies of the agendas, the reports and recommendations and all background material - this equates to hundreds of papers every meeting and that multiplied by seven members of council as well as senior staff. The environmental impact of the decision to remove the stacks and stacks of paperwork would be enormous and in line with council’s strategic plan; the economic impact stands to be substantial as well.”
Williams said going paper-free was originally discussed at the first 2013 budget meeting.
“We are now waiting for the report on just how much: paper, ink, staff time and ultimately taxpayer money will be saved by making this shift. My thinking is that the sooner the shift is made, the more the economic and environmental benefits will be realized; and so I brought the idea forward immediately from the budget discussion,” he said.
Jackie Boggs, town deputy clerk/executive assistant, said to determine the exact cost associated with making hard copies for council, staff and media is difficult.
In 2012 the finance and administration departments were part of the same department (this year they are separate), and Boggs said she had to estimate the number of pages in each package and multiply that by 13.
Additionally, the town began double-siding its copies halfway through last year; as well, the number of council meetings each year changes.
As a rough estimate, Boggs said about $5,300 was associated with the costs of printing and paper for council meetings in 2012.