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updated: 9/4/2011 3:48 AM

Carpentersville trustees to get iPads?

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Those hefty paper village board packets Carpentersville trustees receive twice a month for village business soon could become a thing of the past.

On Tuesday, trustees will consider whether to buy eight iPads they and Village Clerk Terri Wilde would use to view electronic board packets.

The idea is to cut down on staff time and resources spent on creating and delivering the heavy paper packets, said Kevin Goethals, the village's IT director. It's also part of the village's ongoing initiative to go green, he said.

Trustees receive the paper packets twice a month and they average 200 sheets. It takes the village manager's executive secretary six hours to assemble them for every board meeting.

Once she is finished, a Carpentersville community service officer hand delivers the packets to trustees. The whole procedure costs $5,075 a year, not including copy machine maintenance.

The iPads, on the other hand, would cost $4,230, or $530 each and could only be used in places with established Wi-Fi hot spots.

If trustees approve the measure on Tuesday, village officials would order the cheapest iPad 2s available and download a program that allows trustees and the clerk to view and mark up the board reports online.

"It'll make us more efficient and it'll cut down tremendously on the amount of paper and copying we do," Village President Ed Ritter said.

They'd receive a link to the board reports before every meeting that they could access through the iPad or any other computing device. The program could start as soon as the Oct. 4 board meeting. Training would be available for the iPad users.

The initial investment is expected to save more than $5,000 after the first year.

Trustee Doug Marks is sold on the program but would like to see if there are cheaper tablet computers that could get the job done just as well.

He also wonders about the iPad's long-term durability.

Trustee Brad McFeggan supports the program but is concerned about appearances, given the state of the economy.

"I do think the one big concern I can see from the public is we're in some very tough budget times and now the village is spending money on (iPads) for the board," McFeggan said. "(But) those definitely pay for themselves with the cost savings and the saving of staff time."

What has yet to be discussed is whether the designated iPad users would access their own iTunes account to pay for other apps they download or if the village would lock the machines to prevent them from downloading anything else.

McFeggan and Marks say personal apps have no place on village iPads and support "locking the machines down."

"The whole idea is that it's a piece of hardware that belongs to the village," Marks said. "If you're going to try and use it for something else, then go buy your own."

But Ritter said he's undecided.

"Anything that is not village related should be taken care of by the person who is using that computer," Ritter said. "I know it would be neater and simpler if it's a village computer, but I could understand if a trustee felt it would be very impractical to use (two) computers and switch back and forth."