Members of the Wheeling village board and plan commission will soon be getting iPads to help the village go electronic and save printing costs, as well as to assist board members during discussions.
In the wake of Monday night's decision, the village will be buying about 15 iPads and implementing the program over the next month, said village manager Jon Sfondilis.
Two board members, Kenneth Brady and Ray Lang, had been experimenting with their personal iPads over the past few months and working with IT Director Luca Ursan to find the best use for the technology.
"It's one of the greatest things I've ever run across as far as getting the job done and doing it efficiently," Brady said of a program Ursan came up with to upload the board's packet and memos, which can be hundreds of pages each week. With the program board members will be able to click on an item and be linked to all of the supporting documents instantly, Brady said.
"With this thing (iPad), you take it under your arm, the whole meeting is under your arm."
Lang said he has enjoyed being able to access village documents to review if he is traveling and that he has noticed other villages, including Buffalo Grove, have moved to similar electronic systems.
Mayor Judy Abuscato asked about training for village board members on the devices, but Brady said he started using the iPad in July and caught on in the first week. "The things this can do are phenomenal," Brad said.
The iPads will also hold an archive of village documents form previous meetings and allow board members Internet access during meetings if they need to look something up.
"You have instant access to our village codes if you need to reference during the meeting," Brady said. "I think the main thing for me is this is a tool that will make us all a lot better and save reams and reams of paper over the course of the year."
Because the board will be buying in bulk and for a government entity, Sfondilis said, it will get at least a 5 percent discounts. Board members will have to sign a policy to ensure they are not using the iPads for personal matters.
Sfondilis said that although this will be an expense in the short term, there will be substantial savings over time in printing and personnel.