Connecticut town discusses digitizing town meetings

December 14, 2012

The Board of Selectmen for the town government of Windham, Connecticut  has been discussing a move to tablets during town meetings after a surplus in the budget was found. While this may be an expensive transition at first, the move to paperless meetings would allow members to save costs of paper and share documents much more easily than with their current systems.

“I think at some point we need to stop kicking and dragging our heels into the future,” said Selectman Phil LoChiatto, according to the Windham Patch.

The Information and Technology Services Department in particular has been pushing the move for some time, and for some departments, members are beginning to see the advantages.

Windham’s Planning Board of Zoning Board of Adjustment in particular is known for having large volumes of paper. “They are so document intensive,” one selectmen said. “They come with reams and reams of paper.”

In order to bring board members up to speed, it is likely many of the documents would need to be digitized in order to efficiently look at past decisions and records. Bulk scanning services can help Windham, and other towns or cities having this discussion, ensure all documents will be on hand when needed, no matter what format members will be using.

There would still need to be changes to the building these newly paperless meetings are held in, in addition to giving individual members a tablet, including installing computers and projection screens in rooms to better present materials. According to the Fire Chief Tom McPherson, the town would not receive an education discount that the town’s schools receive.

However, by making these changes earlier rather than later, the town would benefit in the long run.