The Lafayette City-Parish Council is considering saving trees and money.
The council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on going paperless, ending the practice of printing meeting information packets for council members, staff and representatives from the administration.
“It seems wasteful to me, because after the meeting all the binders are chucked,” said Councilwoman Nanette Cook, who is sponsoring the proposal. “It’s time to get with the times. I think we can do this. I think everybody is willing to do this.”
Cook, who took office in January, said she got the idea after learning that both the Lafayette Regional Airport Commission and the Lafayette Parish School Board have already dispensed with printed meeting packets.
“I thought, why aren’t we paperless?” Cook said.
The School Board went paperless in 2008, and the airport commission made the switch within the past year.
“I love it. From my fellow commissioners, I don’t hear any complaints,” said airport commission Chairman Paul Guilbeau Sr. “We are saving a bunch of trees.”
As part of the switch, commissioners were provided iPads to view documents during meetings.
Guilbeau said he is certain the savings from going paperless has more than made up for the expense of the iPads, considering that meeting packets were sometimes as hefty as 200 pages and 13 copies had to be printed for meetings.
Cook said the council spends roughly $1,200 a month printing agendas and supporting material for each meeting.
There are no plans to equip council members with new digital equipment, but Cook said everyone likely has access to a device that could be used for reading meeting documents.
The vote on Tuesday is to approve a resolution to encourage a move to paperless meetings rather than to mandate the switch, so council members could still receive printed documents if they wish.
“It’s just the first step in getting everyone used to paperless,” Cook said. “I’m willing to give it a shot.”