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Village Vision News

Village may buy laptops for Board members

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tapping into technology to save costs has found support from Finance Committee members, who also agreed to go paperless and postage-less. Committee members now will receive monthly meeting notices and packets through their home e-mail addresses.

It’s a growing trend: Earlier this month, Village trustees received their first Board meeting packets at their personal e-mail addresses. This practice has since been modified, with staff setting up trustee e-mail accounts at Village Hall which are separate from their personal e-mails.

“It takes a lot of staff time to put all the packets together ... we look at this [new procedure] as a time saving move,” said Village Administrator Heather Kimmons. She said it is already apparent that the move has been beneficial and might reduce the need for a part-time utility billing clerk by the reduction in paperwork. “I’ve put on hold interviews for a part-time utility clerk,” Kimmons told committee members.

Since some Board packets contain as many as 70 pages, trustees asked about the feasibility of the Village purchasing a laptop computer for each of them. Trustee and Finance Committee chair Steve Hubbard said initial inquires for purchasing laptops for the six trustees and mayor totaled $2,800, an amount that will take less than two years for a payback since the estimated annual cost to print and compile Board packets is approximately $2,100.

His committee members discussed the pros and cons of having the laptops, and committee member Carol Reed noted that “...the expense is not that great” while member Mike Miller declared “..it’s a no brainer if it saves hiring another person.” In the end, committee member Larry Clark gained unanimous support for his motion recommending that trustees look into purchasing laptop computers based on the Board’s needs and pricing.

In another matter, one Finance committee member labeled as “comical” a suggestion to discontinue some volunteer advisory committees and make other ones as-needed or special committees.

“More heads are better than one,” Miller said, with his comment drawing a variety of opinions from the other three members in attendance.
Kimmons assured members that she was “...all for public input” but alluded to the easy accessibility of the Village’s updated website, which is designed for more public participation.

“It’s not my purpose to reduce and devalue public opinion ... my goal is to enhance that and give them [residents] all equal participation,” she said.
Kimmons added that she is seeking a way to make committees work more effectively with the Village administrator. That evening, the Finance committee members concluded they would like theirs to remain a standing committee.

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