USE of new and ever-changing technology is becoming commonplace throughout the world, but it often comes at a price.
In the public sector, that price is often paid by taxpayers, some of the more traditional-minded folks bristling at the idea that their money is being used to equip “bureaucrats” with expensive tablets and phones to perform duties that could be done much cheaper with more traditional devices.
But it has been demonstrably proven time after time that these tools of technology not only make jobs easier and faster to perform but actually save money for the taxpayer in the long run and contribute to preserving the environment.
That was the intent behind the recent purchase by the city of Columbus of 13 iPads, which will be made available to members of city boards and agencies during meetings to access voluminous information pertinent to the subjects of their meetings.
Previously that information was presented to these board members in paper form, creating small mountains for the board members to plow through to keep up with what was being discussed.
The easy access to the material on these tablets eliminates literally tons of paper along with the time and resources needed to compile each set for the various members.
An even better aspect to this approach to record-keeping is the “painless” way in which the tablets are being paid for.
Mayor Kristen Brown was able to tap $7,400 in revenue from Columbus’ share of cable television fees to buy the 13 devices.
These fees once went into a telecommunications fund that often was tapped by previous city officials for a variety of purposes, some of them only vaguely related to the telecommunications purposes which were originally intended.
The use of this technology also gives the public greater access to information being discussed at public meetings.
Residents now can bring their own laptop computer or other electronic device to such meetings at City Hall and use free Wi-Fi to access the same material commission members are following on their own electronic devices.
In the end, this particular use of technology not only is a good financial move for the city, but it gives constituents easier access to material they need to know about.
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