Small Town Government Goes High Tech, Saves Money Using iPad

In Cornelius, N.C., a small town north of Charlotte, the town commissioners will now receive town meeting agendas on iPads instead of paper. According to Town Manager Anthony Roberts this change is expected to save resources and Taxpayer dollars.

The city’s government purchased 16 iPads for its department heads, mayor, board members, town clerk, police chief, the finance director and two members of its I.T. department. And, no, Apple did not give them a discount.

Even after ponying up $16,000, Roberts still expects the iPads to save Cornelius money. If it seems impossible, consider the cost and labor involved in creating an agenda for just one week. As Roberts describes it:

We have to run 20 agendas at 200 pages per agenda. That’s 4,000 pages just on that one, and that’s not including the time to put it together. And you usually don’t get it right the first time because everything changes. I would think it takes over eight hours per packet.

Roberts expects that within a year-and-a-half the town will recoup its investment in the iPads through savings on paper, copying, labor, and other miscellaneous costs.

Cornelius has already benefited from the iPad adoption in another way. Police Chief Bence Hoyle finds he can keep the town’s streets a bit safer with the iPad in hand:

Last night, I was on my iPad and I accidentally hit the wrong button and pulled up a couple of webcams at local parks, and I saw a suspicious person step out and walk toward the amphitheater. I immediately called up the e-mail and e-mailed in and watched our guys go out there. He said he was just walking around. It was 11 at night. The park closes at dusk. He ended up getting a traffic citation for not having a registration. Another thing is our supervisors can read all the reports immediately.

Only time will tell how many other municipalities will look to the iPad to shrink the size of government.

[Via New York Times]

About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite

  • Paulmmn

    As long as -any- citizen can get a copy of the agenda as well…
    –Paul E Musselman