STOW: Councilman Mike Rasor proposed a new piece of legislation: The Transparency and Green Savings Act at Monday's committee meeting.
“I have taken notes over my first three years on council about how the city could modernize its operations in order to save money and make information more accessible to residents. This legislation combines some of these ideas,” Rasor said.
Rasor said the key features of the legislation are: making city council's operation mostly paperless, creating an online Government Transparency Portal that would allow residents and media to have easy access to public documents, and cutting office supply costs.
Rasor said he thought his proposed legislation was well-received.
"I think it was well-received. We will keep it in committee for another couple weeks, so the absent members can get a chance to review it and comment," Rasor said.
Rasor said the city needs to “go green.”
“We need to "go green," not only because it's the right thing to do for our environment, but also because it will allow us to invest the savings into places where money is sorely needed, such as road repair,” Rasor said.
Rasor said the Government Transparency Portal would hopefully be a model for other cities to copy.
“It's very important to me that our operations become more transparent to the residents,” he said.
If the legislation is approved Rasor hopes the administration will be able to implement the plan over the next nine months.
“It may be uncomfortable, at first, for some people who are accustomed to only dealing with paper. But these are taxpayer dollars, and I believe the cost savings will outweigh the discomfort that comes with change,” Rasor said.
According to Rasor, if this becomes law, each department must cut spending on paper by 10 percent for each of the next 5 years. In addition, city council and the boards and commissions will substantially reduce their printing costs.
“We spend thousands of dollars printing off hard copies of our ordinances. There is no reason we can't replace those copies with an Internet version,” Rasor said.
Before the next meeting, he plans to amend the legislation. The amended legislation will include the forming of an implementation committee.