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Council switch to tablets will save $50K a year
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Photocopier stock is about to take a hit.

So are the sales of 500-sheet packages of standard copier paper.

The Manteca City Council this week gave its blessing to a plan to complete the shift to digital reproduction of council meeting packets. While hard copies will still be made available at the Manteca Library and to anyone requesting them, agendas will — for the most part — will be in the form of downloaded PDFs accessed via the city’s website.

The PDFs have been available for more than a year online. The big switch — and what will ultimately save $50,000 a year in tax dollars — is switching the five members of the City Council to tablets to download agendas. Council members have the option to stay with paper agendas, if they so chose.

The cost savings includes using less paper as well as a significant reduction in photocopier use and staff time.

The cost to convert is $900 per tablet including keyboard. It will also cost $400 a month for data plans. Department heads already use electronic devices at council meetings backed up by reference binders for specific projects.

The council this past week adopted a policy for council use of the devices including what happens if they get damaged while in the individual member’s possession.

The devices will be returned to the city when a council member is no longer serving and wiped clean of all information on  it.

Since the tablet is owned by the city, they can only be used for city-related business. As such, all emails and such are subject to public document laws.

The switch to tablets is part of the council’s green technology initiative designed to save energy and reduce costs through rethinking how the city does business.

It is also part of the city’s $700,000 council chambers upgrade for both technology and compliance with the latest American with Disabilities Act rules. The technology upgrades now allow the audience as well as council members to see any supporting documentation presented at council meeting on a series of TV screens. It is also shown to those watching meetings on Comcast Channel 97.

The city budget for the start of the fiscal year on July 1 also includes $250,000 for building ADA compliant restrooms for the council chambers complex.