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St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators may go green

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CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators is considering going paperless, investing in computers instead of reams.

“I’m a strong advocate of moving us into the 21st century,” Legislative Chairwoman Sallie A. Brothers, D-Norfolk, said.

Legislators are mulling over whether to buy tablets or laptops to receive agendas, meeting materials, resolutions and other documents rather than the mounds of paper now distributed.

Based on preliminary research, tablets for all legislators would cost $9,980 as a one-time purchase, compared to the $10,431 the board annually spends on paper. Laptops would cost $18,892 but would allow legislators more software capability to access the county’s financial system. However, charge stations would probably have to be installed at legislative desks because meetings often last longer than two hours.

Some savings might be possible as a few legislators already have laptops or other equipment they prefer to use.

“I prefer not to have another device,” Legislator Daniel F. Parker, R-Potsdam, said.

Advantages might extend beyond saving paper. The systems might be used for videoconferencing or to communicate with a legislator unable to attend a meeting. Interim IT Director Keith J. Zimmerman will research the idea more thoroughly and report back to legislators.

If the board switches from paper to mobile computers, Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb, suggested adoption of a use policy so that the devices are used for their intended purpose.

“I think it could be a distraction,” Mr. Morrill said. “I think we need to avoid that.”

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