OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Common Council could be going paperless in the future.
At Tuesday night’s committee meeting, Councilor Robert Corradino opened a discussion regarding paperless agendas for committee and council meetings.
Besides council and committee meetings, this could be expanded to cover other meetings such as zoning and planning he said.
He recently participated in a webinar with some city staff and was given a proposal by NovusAgenda. It is “a proven electronic solution designed to create, approve and track items for upcoming and past board meetings.”
The city would get a free 90-day trial period.
“So, the city is under no obligation for the first 90 days,” Corradino said. “The first 60 days is training and implementation. On the 61st day, they will send us an invoice and that isn’t due for 30 days. At the end of the 90th day we have to make a decision – whether we pay the invoice or walk away.”
The councilor said the company provided him with a package of more than 350 references from all across the country and Canada, the closest being from the city of Auburn. All were positive in nature.
The system makes things easier for the taxpayer, the councilor said.
What’s transparent now would still be transparent, he said, adding that there would be a public search element that would allow anyone to go to the website and download things like minutes of meetings. The proceedings in an executive session would remain confidential, however.
“This is a good feature from the standpoint that there will be less FOIL requests because everything will already be out there,” he explained.
Initially, they’d like to start with paperless council meetings, he said, adding that it can be set up for up to five different meeting types, included in the base price.
A year’s worth of the legal sized paper the council prints its (and committees’) agendas on costs the city about $700.
You also have to take into account the cost of having someone spend two – two and a half hours to print out and collate everything and then have someone deliver the packets, Corradino pointed out.
It might not save the city a lot of money in the first year or two, he said.
“But, I think over a three- or four-year period, we’ll see the numbers add up to the point where it’s worth it because, number one, the manpower issue alone,” he said.
There is a $750 training fee. The total annual cost to the city would be $4,950. The first year outlay would be $5,700.
Corradino proposed purchasing eight tablets; one for each of the councilors and one more as a spare. Depending on the brand, the cost could be $138 upwards to around $310, he said.
The tablets would be the property of the city and councilors would turn them in at the end of their terms.
City resident Miles Becker praised the council’s initiative for considering such a move.
“This is ideal. It’s about time we catch up with the rest of the country. Thank you,” he told the committee.
The committee agreed to further research the proposal before bringing a resolution to the full council.