Tonawanda News

September 15, 2013

NT council to go digital

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda is moving further into the digital age, with an announcement this week that much of the paperwork related to council business won’t be on paper at all.

The city spent $7,000 on 10 iPads in recent weeks that will be owned by the municipality but used by council members, Mayor Rob Ortt, and several department heads including the city attorney, according to Clerk-Treasurer Scott Kiedrowski. 

The city spends $10,000 to $12,000 each year on paper, with a stack nearly a foot high detailing the week’s agenda items, notices and interdepartmental communications. Those items will now be down-sized from 25 paper packets to just one hard copy. 

“We are a very paper-heavy office,” Kiedrowski said. “If I lay a stack of all those packets out each week they would be easily 12-inches high and up. You’re taking that stack and reducing it to zero.” 

Many departments in the city are already moving toward digitizing their internal documents, Kiedrowski said, including City Accountant Mark Dotterweich, who now issues his weekly and monthly reports via the web.  

“It kind of forces some departments to get on board,” Kiedrowski said, of his efforts to move to a digital platform. 

The city also created an online bill payment system in 2011 with the same philosophy in mind, allowing residents to pay city and school taxes and water bills via the Internet and reducing the need for paper. 

“When I first got here the very first thing I did was eliminate the copies of the meeting minutes,” Kiedrowski said. “We were making more copies then we had paper. Just because this is the way it’s always been done, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get in line with changing technology and what makes the most sense.”   

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.