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Iowa City Goes Paperless

John Platt, May 10, 2012

The city council of Iowa City is finally fulfilling its goal of going paperless. The city council recently approved a plan to distribute the regular packets for its meetings electronically, a move that should save them around $8,000 a year. The meeting packets were typically 80 to 200 pages.

Council members will be provided with iPads in order to achieve the goal. Laptops had been in use, but the tablet computers will reduce some of the "bulk" for the task.

Another Iowa town, North Liberty, recently went paperless, and while the cost of buying the iPads was the same as their annual printing costs, the devices will last for multiple years, saving money in the long run. The towns will also save time and money by not having to archive paper documents.

It also takes a lot less time for paperless towns to assemble the packets for town meetings, which used to require copying, collating, and distribution.

Obviously, moving to a paperless system saves money and trees and eliminates the pollutants emitted during paper production, but there is a tradeoff to using electronic devices, which require electricity and are often made with toxic materials. But in this world, every little bit helps, and this is a good step for the people of Iowa City.


Photo: Konrad Glogowski via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

Tags: Civic News, Paper

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