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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S going lean on paper.

Have you and your county ever thought about having your county’s records scanned and saved digitally? Have you thought about the savings you might see? Does your county, like many counties, have paper records dating back to the 1800’s that are fading and disintegrating? Do you have records on microfilm that require costly machines to read? What is your county’s plan if your paper records fall victim to some sort of disaster like the fires, floods or tornados that some counties have experienced? An increasing amount of compelling evidence shows that it is time to give some serious thought to the idea of transitioning to a paperless office.


Let’s start with the issue on most of our minds — money. The thought of scanning all records is no doubt overwhelming. You may be thinking that your county does not have the manpower or money to make it happen. First, there is no need to scan every piece of paper tomorrow. For example, devise a five-year plan. That spreads out the cost, as well as the work, and makes it a much less daunting task. Second, several reputable companies will do all the work for you. And they are amazingly affordable. Some counties are considering the transition to paperless; some already have begun the process; and some have completed the process with all their past records and are maintaining electronic records as new ones come in. Here are some numbers from Pulaski County Treasurer/Collector Debra Buckner, not from a Google search of statistics. Keep in mind that these numbers are from the largest county in the state and from both the treasurer and collector’s offices.

Buckner said that when she and her staff began considering having their records scanned, they thought $30,000 would cover the cost of scanning historical documents. With their projected budget in mind, they issued requests for bids. The bid they accepted came in under the projected budget. Here are the yearly combined expenditures for the Pulaski County treasurer and collector’s offices:

Yearly Combined Expenditures for Pulaski County Treasurer and Collector’s Offices

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

$23,465.54 (includes catch up from previous years) $12,652.50

$19,336.40 (includes catch up from previous years) $15,156.33

$18,304.46 (includes microfilm that was scanned) “The big savings comes from not buying more filing cabinets

and not taking up more large areas of floor space to file paper,” Buckner said. “[The cost of] using geek sticks/CDs and eventually the Cloud storage is tiny, tiny, tiny. We are not having to heat


» » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » Going paper lean in ‘16

ased on past experience you may think you are about to read about nutrition and exercise. Not this time. This is about being good stewards of our resources — money, time and our environment. This is about

and cool rooms to protect a bunch of filing cabinets full of old papers.” Both offices try to scan and organize the following documents each year:

• Bank statements and checks (by bank and month)

• Housing checks (by name, date, check number)

• Voided payroll and payables checks (by check number)

• Voided Housing, Housing DHAP, Housing FSS checks (by check number)

• Statements/Due To Due From (by month)

• Jury checks (by name, date, check number) • Account payable checks (by name, date, check number) • Poll worker checks (by name, date, check number) • Payroll checks (by name, date, employee number, check number)

• Payroll advices (by name, date, employee number) • Payroll deducts (by name, date, check number) • Summary of Account Balance (by month and year) • Receipts (by month and receipt number) • Annual School Report (by School) • General Ledger CD (disc to disc) • DAV • INA combined credit card and eCheck report • Final settlement/Original charge • Deeds and redemptions • Real Estate Tax Books

A single binder of CDs can hold, for instance, the treasury records from 1992 forward. That is one binder compared to a courthouse basement full of boxes. As you can imagine, having all records stored on CDs vs. on paper would make disaster recovery easier.

“Of course security is a big relief,” Buckner said. “Our vendor also has a permanently stored copy of everything, so we have a great Plan B if our archive is destroyed.”

That should give you some food for thought about going paper lean in your county. As you can see, going paperless works right here in Arkansas. Pulaski County has preserved important records dating back more than 100 years. This county is saving and will continue to save money on expensive filing cabinets and the space to house them in a climate-controlled area. Finally, Pulaski County records are now safe from any kind of disaster. What more could your county ask for? We have the technology. The time has come. Go lean on paper in your county. Feel free to call me here at the AAC office if you have questions

about going paperless. If I cannot answer your question, I can put you in touch with someone who can.


Becky Comet AAC Member Benefits Manager

Savings times 2

Wallet & waistline

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