October 9, 2011

City of San Leandro Looks to Go Paperless with Apple iPads

ipad2.jpg The San Leandro City Council may soon be reviewing agendas and backup documentation on Apple iPads, if plans discussed at the September 29, 2011, meeting of the Rules and Communications Committee come to fruition.

The iPads are part of a paperless agenda initiative that could reduce printing costs and save staff time, which includes delivery of printed and bound booklets that contain the agenda and backup information to the homes of members of the City Council.

According to information presented by City of San Leandro Information Technology Manager Rayan Fowler, the initial proposal calls for iPads to be purchased for all members of the City Council (7), City Manager's Office (4), department heads (7), and two for technical support staff.

Although the initial proposal called for 3G-enabled iPads, Mayor Stephen Cassidy was skeptical of the need for 3G and especially the added initial and ongoing costs. A 3G-enabled iPad costs $130 more (26%) than a standard 16GB iPad, according to Apple's web site and up to $9,122 in annual costs for unlimited data service, which could be reduced to $6,480 for limited data service. The estimated cost of $880 for each 16GB iPad2 includes 3G, an extra adapter, insurance in case they are dropped and iAnnotate software. That cost could be reduced to $750 each without 3G and to $650 if refurbished iPads were purchased, based on prices from Apple. The total estimated cost for the 20 iPads is $17,600. Additional costs include purchase of additional wireless access points to improve or add wireless access at City buildings, estimated at $4,959.50.

At the Sep. 29 meeting of the Rules and Communications Committee, Councilmember Ursula Reed expressed a desire to have 3G-enabled iPads so that they could be used to access information, anywhere, such as BART or conferences. Reed added, "If you don't have 3G, then it almost defeats the purpose...if I didn't have 3G, it would be pointless because I could just sit in front of a computer at home." Cassidy noted that the City already pays for cell phones for council members and council members could also use their $175 monthly technology allowance. Section 1.3.120 of San Leandro's Administrative Code states that council members "may be reimbursed for expenses incurred for Internet E-Mail Provider service, Fax Machine telephone line service, Cell Phone service (City business only), Electronic Datebook service, and like expenses." Prola wanted to make the switch to a paperless agenda voluntary and said that there was no reason for the council packets to be delivered to council members' homes. Since the City would continue to print a limited number of bound copies of the agenda and backup material, Prola asked that council members have the option of continue to receive the printed version.

Savings from changing to a paperless agenda are estimated at $2,500 annually for printing agenda books and $10,000 annually by eliminating a copier lease, though that wouldn't happen until the lease expires in October 2012.

Advantages of the new system cited by staff include the ability to include color images and larger documents, better utilization of a new electronic agenda system, Legistar, that was recently implemented and using 100,000 less sheets of paper each year. Legistar is a product of Granicus, the company that provides live audio streaming and archiving of City Council meetings.

Six copies of the complete agenda and backup material would continue to be printed for the main and branch libraries, council meeting, and city manager's office.

The City of Hayward want paperless in November 2010, which included purchase of iPads for its council members. Redwood City expects to save $30,000 annually, but restricted use of email and text messages on the devices out of concerns that they could be used to circumvent the California Public Records Act. The City of Lynwood, California, estimates it will save $6,000 annually after switching to iPads in August 2010. Other cities that are moving to iPads include Burbank, Sacramento, and Wildomar in California, Columbia, Missouri, Bluffton, South Carolina, Fredericksburg, Virginia, Coral Springs, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia.

Members of the committee did not agree on a recommendation to the City Council and the issue will be discussed at the October meeting of the Rules and Communications Committee.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at October 9, 2011 7:40 AM | TrackBack

what a boondoggle!

Posted by: Brian Murrell at October 10, 2011 7:42 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?