With minimal fanfare Monday night, the Narragansett Town Council approved a proposal from Town Manager Grady Miller to purchase 11 iPads for town councilors and several other officials.
The devices will cost the town $7,887, but Miller said the move to iPads would greatly reduce the paper costs of the town and also free up town clerk staff for other duties.
“We believe we would have a recovery in the cost of investment in six to 12 months,” Miller said. “North Kingstown recently purchased iPads for the council and the town manager, and they have been able to reduce the copy costs tremendously, and also the staff time that goes into creating the packets.”
The request passed by a 5-0 vote. The usually vocal Narragansett residents in attendance did not comment on the proposal.
Councilor Alisa Trainor Fleet initially expressed reservations about having to learn how to use an iPad, but said she recognized the potential savings for the town.
“I’m not a computer person,” she said. “I’m scared to death of this, but I think it’s a good thing.”
Miller said that there would be training sessions with the town’s IT department to help any councilors uncomfortable with the technology, and the town would transition from printed packets to completely digital. However, he added that most learned how to use the iPads quickly.
“My father is 82 years old, and I showed him the iPad that I have of my own, and he was sold on it,” Miller said. “He was one of the first in line to buy one [after the experience].”
Narragansett Town Clerk Anne Irons estimated that an average town council packet, which consists of the supporting documentation for anything on an agenda, is 75 pages. As a result, an average town council meeting requires about 750 printed pages, which would eventually be greatly reduced by the iPads.
As a note, all agendas and supporting documentation are currently reviewable on ClerkBase. iPads have wireless Internet support, so councilors would simply review ClerkBase documents using the town’s wireless Internet connection.
Clam Jammer’s Receives Conditional Approval for Liquor License Transfer
The Wheel House won’t stay empty for long, as the replacement venue, Clam Jammers, received conditional approval for a liquor license transfer.
The owner of Clam Jammers, Paul C. Troxell, said that he intended to run a similar establishment as the Wheel House.
“I don’t think there is a whole lot of difference between the type of operation we want to run and what there is there,” he said. “The menu, we’re looking at a lot of seafood, with some unique sandwiches and a couple steaks, the whole nine yards.”
Troxell said he had prior restaurant experience – three years at in Narragansett, and six years at Olives in Providence. He anticipated having cover bands, DJs and other music at Clam Jammers from time to time.
The request for a liquor license transfer was approved by a 5-0 vote of the council, contingent on Clam Jammers receiving approval from the state licensing board and other authorities.
In addition, a lawyer representing Troxell said that an agreement had been reached between the Wheel House and various creditors, who had agreed to drop their objections to the license transfer as a result. According to documents, the Wheel House owed the following to various businesses:
- $680.74 to Southern Rhode Island Newspapers, the parent company of The Narragansett Times, for advertising
- $5,336.36 to the Pier Fuel Company
- $1,535.89 to the Rhode Island Distributing Company
- $807.48 to McLaughlin and Moran, Inc.
- $5,284.94 to Margaret A. Laurence for legal work
Canonchet Farm Hearing Continues
Also on Monday night, the council heard another hour of testimony on the development of Canonchet Farm. Monday’s discussion was focused on the potential management of any project.
According to the timetable initially set by the council, the next step would be the drafting of a master plan draft by the council at a public hearing. Similar to the preliminary stages, the council would vote on segments of the draft individually. After the approval of the draft, town staff would create it, and then it would be back in front of the council again for final approval.