Archbold, OH
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Laptop Computers For Councilmen?




Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, will look into the possibility of purchasing laptop computers for members of Archbold village council and Laurie Storrer, clerk of council.

The goal, Howell said, is to cut down on the use of paper and copy machines to save money, and make work easier for councilmen.

The possibility of laptops for local lawmakers was discussed at the Monday night, Jan. 19, meeting.

Joan Lovejoy, village finance director, said the village contract for its copier has a price of 1.9 cents per black and white copy.

Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, said his packet of materials for the meeting, such as reports, memos, letters, etc., was 55 pages. Making copies for the six council members, plus Wyse, Howell, and Storrer, consumed almost a full ream (500 sheets), of paper, with a $9.40 copier cost.

Council meets twice a month, incurring similar costs. Based on two meetings a month, for 12 months, with 55-page packets per meeting, council consumes about 12,000 sheets, or 24 reams of paper, just for their meeting packets.

Kevin Eicher, councilman, said most of the paper would probably be thrown away; filing that much paper takes up valuable storage space.

Download

Howell said serviceable laptops can be purchased for well under $1,000; even after adding the necessary software, the price could still be less than $1,000.

The information for each meeting could then be posted in a secure area on the village website, www.Archbold.com. Council members would be issued usernames and passwords to access the information.

Once reviewed, reports and other documents from the meeting could be easily transferred in an archival file system on the laptop, giving councilmen nearinstant access to the information.

Retrieving an old document on the laptop would be faster and easier than hunting through an overstuffed filing cabinet.

Howell said downloading the data from the website would be faster than emailing it to each individual machine.

The village can purchase laptop computers from two manufacturers, using the State of Ohio purchasing system, but Howell said local computer firms, Upward Solutions and Sonit Systems, are competitive with the state pricing structure.

When concern was expressed over some council members’ skill levels with computers, Howell said training sessions could be arranged.

Ed Leininger, councilman, suggested that older laptops already being used by village departments could be replaced with newer, more capable machines, and the older ones given to council members.

Howell said in many cases, laptops already in service are dedicated to specific tasks, and cannot easily be replaced.

Leininger also suggested councilmen be required to sign the village government information technology policy.

Public Access

Most of the documents village officials deal with are considered public records under Ohio law. Reporters for this newspaper have requested, and received, copies of such documents.

Howell said once the information was requested, he would not have difficulty allowing reporters access to documents through the website.


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