Modesto City Council goes to paperless with Apple iPads

“The digital revolution has done away with paper at Modesto City Council meetings,” Ken Carlson reports for The Modesto Bee.

“Council members are now reading their agenda documents on the 9.7-inch displays of iPad computers,” Carlson reports. “The city spent $13,000 to buy 16 of the small touch-screen computers for the mayor, council members and department directors, who received the devices last month.”

“The iPads replace the paper agenda packets that include the reports and support documents for matters before the council. The packets were often 400 to 500 pages,” Carlson reports. “‘It has eliminated a lot of leafing time,’ Councilman Dave Lopez said. ‘It’s a lot of paper savings. You are talking about a ream of paper for each person.'”

Carlson reports, “Kevin Harless, interim chief information officer, said the city should recover the purchase cost of the iPads within 15 months. The city will avoid the cost of copying and compiling the packets and having an employee drive the packets to council members’ homes the Thursday before council meetings.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dave” for the heads up.]


  1. Imagine that? REAL WORLD iPad digital document distribution that not only WORKS!!! But SAVES $$$$$$. Microsoft Little The Wondows I hear a breaking. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. @ericdano,

    Did you miss the part about driving a ream of paper to each council persons house the evening before the session?

    That alone makes the purchase worthwhile, in paper, labor, fuel and milage reimbursement cost.

  3. “So, the town with the worst unemployment in the state, and the highest foreclosure rate wastes money on iPads?”

    If they’re recovering back the cost in so short a time (15 months), and increasing productivity at the same time, it’s not a waste.

  4. This is a real problem in the public sector. The costs are not an issue. What is an issue, adopting technology to improve the lives of public workers, despite the woes of the general public. That is, it does not matter that it costs less to adopt technology, the fact that they get to have something new, and desirable, whereas joe plumber who has no job can’t, pisses people off. This is jealousy and coveting. The same problems occur in our schools. They have to hide their technology so people do not say bad things about it, even-though it’s good for the organization.

    Case in point, it’s okay for a classroom to have a $1200 projector that costs $$$ to run, cool a 10K BTU heat output and replace bulbs (TCO $5K+), yet it’s not okay to have a $1500 LED LCD TV that will last 60,000 hours before replacing, costing $ to run and no cooling issues (TCO $2K). They see the projector and can’t relate. They see the TV and think, I wish I could have that in my house. You are wasting our money!

  5. This adoption of the iPads has many benefits that go far beyond a justified cost savings. How many times do we read of city council and board member making really stupid decisions dealing with the adoption of technology for areas affecting citizens lives? All the time, and it’s usually because they themselves are so behind the curve that they can’t fully understand the benefits the technology brings. All they see are cost vs savings figures.

    Madesto is far ahead of the game IMHO. By the time these iPads have paid for themselves, these council members will have an education in “modern” technology, and will be better equipped to do their ‘real’ jobs concerning the city’s residents, in a way that’ll far outweigh the $13K expense. The only down side to this whole thing is the guy driving the packets around is now looking for new job.

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