The Town of Batavia is working to get all its files on computer for easy access. Going "paperless" is touted as being more efficient, but the electronic transformation is certainly not cheap.
Fortunately, the town got the two grants it applied for to update its record-management system. One for $24,000 and another for $28,000.
The first grant paid for a document scanner, software programs and a work station for Record Management Clerk Mary Cordes.
Permanent records and building permits were the first kinds of documents made available electronically. It took a little less than a year for all of the data to be scanned and entered into the computer system.
The other $28,000 grant will pay for scanning town board meeting minutes and assessment records during the 2010-11 fiscal year.
The town will pay for record-management upgrade costs not covered by the grants.
Of course Town Clerk Teressa Morasco, an employee there for 17 years, is also keenly involved with this process.
“It will be so much easier, things are at your finger tips and other departments will be able to use the system as well,” Morasco said.
For example, part of the staff is in the Highway Garage and the system helps them out tremendously.
"They don’t have to walk over every time they need a document,” Morasco said.
Storage space is a big issue at the town office and the new system will free up a lot of room.
Many of the building permits and the assessment records go back to the 1940s and '50s.
Digging through all that paperwork to find a document was no small task. Having the computer software to locate something in the system makes searching fast and simple.
"You don’t have to go through all those hoops,” Cordes said.
Even so, all the material has to be prepared before it can go through the scanner.
There are several steps involved. All paper clips and staples have to be pulled off and every document has to face the same direction. Photographs cannot go through the document scanner so they have to be saved using a special scanner.
The employees work together to make the prep work easier.
“It takes a little while to get used to the procedure,” Morasco said.
But the rewards of the new information management system are easy to enjoy.
“There isn’t just one certain place it will help the most, it will help all around,” Morasco said.