Town Hall could tap into technology trend

 

Town Hall could tap into technology trend

 

Date: December 1, 2010
by: Kurt Schultheis | City Editor

 
 

Town Hall might be getting more tech-savvy.

Management Information Systems Director Kathi Pletzke is researching the possibility of using iPads for more than one town department.

The iPad, the first tablet computer developed by Apple Inc. and released earlier this year, could be used by at least three town departments, Pletzke said. In one example, commissioners could use the iPads during meetings to review agendas.

In the last three months, counties and municipalities around the country have been using the approximately $500 devices to save on paper costs and increase efficiencies.

Some Sarasota County commissioners are using the iPad, and the city of Sarasota is also planning on incorporating the devices into its system.

Sarasota County Commission Chairman Joe Barbetta, the first area commissioner to test the iPad for meeting-agenda use, is pleased with the results.

“Our agenda books are a couple thousand pages,” Barbetta said. “We anticipate a substantial cost savings.”

Vice Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioner Hal Lenobel inquired in April about the use of iPads at Town Hall, and Pletzke was given permission to purchase an iPad and test it.

“You can easily tap on an agenda, zoom in on it and flip through it with the stroke of your finger,” Pletzke said.

Pletzke hopes that commissioners can start testing the iPad next year to see if they would consider using it.

“The whole point of this is to go paperless,” said Pletzke. “But it’s not just about saving on paper, this is an efficiency tool.”

The average size of a town agenda is 100 pages, compared to an average Sarasota County agenda of 2,000 pages.

The test iPad already has a town-issued fire inspection program on it that would allow firefighters to make inspections around the Key with the iPad, updating the program while onsite.

Police officers and code-enforcement officers could also fill out police and code reports on the scene with iPads.

“I am more excited about the application and the possibilities of using it in the field for data collection,” Pletzke said.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com.

 

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