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Municipality makes the move to paperless agendas

Clerk Catalina Blumenberg provides iPad training for councillors Andreas Bolik, Phil Prinzen, and Brad Nieman.

Prince Edward County has joined a growing number of municipalities making the move to ‘paperless’ agendas.

The municipality estimates it will save approximately 150,000 sheets of paper each year and further reduce its environmental impact by using less ink and toner in its move to electronic meeting agendas for councillors.

To facilitate the transition, councillors have been provided use of an iPad during their term. The municipality purchased the devices with a $25,000 from an “unconditional modernization grant fund” provided by the province in March 2019. The funds are given to assist municpalities with finding ways to achieve cost-effective and more efficient service delivery. The funds are intended to help offset furture provincial budget transfer reductions.

“We are committed to finding ways to reduce the municipality’s impact on the environment,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson, Mayor. “Eliminating paper agendas is one quick and easy solution that will help make a difference.”

“We share the provincial government’s goal of finding efficiencies and cost savings in our municipal business operations,” Ferguson said. “Furthermore, we will be able to redirect staff resources to higher priority tasks and projects.”

Using their iPads, members of council will have access to the full suite of tools and resources within the iCompass meeting and agenda management software used by the municipality. The digital technology also gives councillors access to a wealth of information right at their fingertips.

“This is great. I’ve been waiting for this evolution. I see it as a first step. There are amazing tools at our fingertips now that we can use for time and task management, communications, for research and for integrating them all,” said councillor Kate MacNaughton. “It’s also going to be refreshing to see our clerk and her office devote themselves to their real purview as municipal professionals instead of collating hundreds of pages of hard copy agendas, reports, and minutes every week.”

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  1. phil says:

    Wow. How innovative and efficient! Meanwhile, there has been no vehicular transformation . The municipality is still running the roads with gas guzzlers .
    The main st. of Picton is a parking lot of idling, polluting, seasonally prominent, disrespectful cars for most of the warm season. There are no rental units available for those that actually need them because of air B&Bs and the tax payers that actually make this place tick are paying through the nose for water and to provide services, so the transients can feel loved.
    Enjoy your ipads. Every time you surf the internet, you are likely crypto currency mining. Crypto currency mining uses as much energy in a year as Denmark does.

  2. Angela says:

    Maybe that’s the idea. If it’s hard for the public to follow there may be fewer complaints about what is done and how. Is it modernization or a system of exclusion? They may be saving paper but at what cost?

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    Who can argue with steps that will save the environment? But what I wonder about is how will the public who attend these meetings follow the agneda? Will they too be expected to own an ipad? Will our elected people have their noses deep into their ipad screen, instead of listening to the taxpaye speaking to them? How will minutes be kept – on only computers? What happens at election time if councillors are replaced or they step down – do they keep the ipad, or is it passed on to the new person? Who pays for the new ipads? This “unconditional modernization grant” – is it a one time deal? How can a member of the public follow the “paper trail” when it no longer exists? This modern convenience could end up costing the municipality more by needing additional staff to help organize and steer the public into finding what they are looking for. Hopefully all this will be explained over time. Council cannot and should not expect the public to keep up to their modernization efforts – taxpayers already pay enough, adding computer costs may not work.

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