Daviess Fiscal Court uses roughly 18,000 sheets of paper annually for its meetings.
To cut down on the use of paper and make the court's information-sharing procedures more efficient, the court is considering going paperless in their meetings beginning next year, said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.
"I'm a little long in the tooth to change," he said. "But it is something that is coming. My concern is that sometimes the commissioners are delayed in getting their information. It wouldn't take a lot, just a resolution. We will look at it here in the next month or so and do our research. I would say the first of the year is a good time to do it. I think our court clerk will be able to disseminate information in a more timely and accurate manner."
Fiscal Court Clerk Jenni Warren has been a proponent of making the change for quite some time, she said, but it came down to finding the right software to fit the court's needs. As of now, the most promising software is eMeetings, created by the Kentucky School Board Association, she said.
"The thing I like about this is that the city of Owensboro and Daviess County Schools use the software," she said. "Our neighbors are using it and if there are any issues I can just call over and get help troubleshooting. I have researched all kinds of paperless agenda software and finally, after 15 years, the judge said it would be a good idea. It will really make it easier to get information to everyone. For instance, in the case of a change to a contract, they need to know that the original contract has changed prior to getting any paper changes. They need to have real-time information on those items."
As it stands, the court spends roughly $600 a year on the paper contents of court binders split between court officials and employees of the court. While there will be some savings there, it will not be enough to supplement the roughly $8,000 in the start-up costs of buying tablets and initiating the software. However, annual savings on paper will offset most of the cost of the annual $1,000 software fee, Mattingly said.
"It isn't expensive," he said. "It is a small investment and if it proves not to work we haven't invested a lot of money. From a strictly fiscal standpoint, it will be a bit more costly on the front end, but we are close to covering the annual cost in eliminating paper. My major concern was being able to take notes on my documents and apparently, with this software, you can do that. I'll be alright with it. I think our court clerk will be able to disseminate information in a more timely and accurate manner to our commissioners and that it will boost efficiency."
The status of meetings, in terms of members of the public desiring court documents, will not change, Warren said.
"The agenda is always on our website," she said. "We will continue to stream meetings on Facebook. If a community member would like paper copies of court documents they can make an Open Records request. Any document is 10 cents a page. After the request goes through the county attorney's office they will receive a notice within three days containing their requested documents or an explanation of why staff needs more time to fill their requests. Transparency is very important to the court, especially given that there is no reason not to be."
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, firstname.lastname@example.org