ORANGE City Council will finally do away with its “antiquated” business papers and save thousands of dollars each year when all 12 councillors receive their own ratepayer-funded iPad.
Each year council spends $40,000 printing thousands of sheets of paper for the council meeting and five committee meetings each month.
The iPads, associated software and training for councillors and staff will cost the council $13,000, council spokesman Nick Redmond said.
Cr Glenn Taylor said it was time to end ongoing debate about electronic business papers and embrace the technology.
“We’ve been dragging our feet on it for many years,” he said.
Corporate and commercial services director Kathy Woolley said iPads for each councillor had been factored into the budget and would be rolled out by April.
“We’ve been to Cabonne and Dubbo to look at their electronic business papers and production,” she said.
“Within the next month we hope to have the training done.”
But Cr Reg Kidd said the council had been “down the road” of electronic business papers “a million times” and it had never worked.
“We want to make it quite clear [the iPad] is for council business only,” he said.
“We have to be quite up front with the policy.”
Both Cr Ron Gander and Cr Kevin Duffy believed paper copies of the business papers were still needed in addition to the iPad version for easier notetaking during meetings.
Council would follow the lead of other councils using iPads and give councillors a hard copy and electronic version during the changeover period, Mr Redmond said.
At this time council would also continue to make printed copies of the business papers available to the public.
Ms Woolley said each councillor would receive their own council email address.
Council also plans to install a Wi-Fi internet connection in the council building and chambers.
Cr Ash Brown said the iPads were a “good step forward” but training was very important for the councillors.
Cr Chris Gryllis and Cr Jeff Whitton asked if councillors could use their own personal iPads instead.
But general manager Garry Styles said it could cause problems in the future when trying to separate personal and council use.