Elk River eyes iPads to save money, paper

Traditionally, Elk River City Council members have received a stack of agenda information, known as council packets, in advance of each council meeting.
But that practice may soon go the way of the dinosaur.
The city is looking at buying Apple iPads for each council member and some city staff. That would enable them be able to access council packets and other city information on their iPads, eliminating the need for paper copies.
Preparing and distributing paper council packets costs the city about $6,865 a year.
The city is required by law to have one public copy of the council packet available, but eliminating the rest (11-12 packets per meeting for council members, the media and others) would save money.
“It’s a great opportunity to go fully paperless and not lose any functionality,” Council Member Matt Westgaard said.
City officials said the iPads would also offer other benefits such as more convenient access to email.
The iPads cost from $656 to $795 each, depending on features. The city has $7,500 in a reserve fund that could be used to pay for them.
The Elk River Area School District has already switched to iPads for school board members. Joe Samek of the school district told the City Council during a Jan. 9 City Council work session that it has gone very well.
“We’re kind of glad we went there,” Samek said. “So far, so good.”