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Leonia, NJ, providing easier access to records

July 6, 2012
Original Publication by SVETLANA SHKOLNIKOVA
NewJersey.com

Leonia will soon become one of the first towns in Bergen County to provide its residents with access to the government like never before.

In a bid to save on costs associated with photocopying and distributing government documents, the borough has enlisted the help of a new meeting management system that both streamlines operations and improves citizen involvement.

The IQM2 system, accessible at leoniaboroughnj.iqm2.com, quietly rolled out on May 21 and is slowly expanding to encompass not only agendas and minutes from mayor and council meetings but video and audio as well.

Only one other town in Bergen County, Teaneck, and about a dozen municipalities, counties and school districts statewide have signed up for the "open government effectiveness" service the company provides.

Two software products, MinuteTraq and MediaTraq, allow the company to produce, track and archive documents for government use and link live webcasts of public meetings with their respective agendas, minutes and documents. Residents can then search through those meetings in a manner similar to Google.

In October, Council President Peter Knott advocated for the overhaul of the current paper system because "change is unavoidable."

For decades, mayor and council packages were hand-delivered to officials by a patrolman from the Leonia Police Department.

"I like reading from paper compared with a computer screen but should we really be doing that?" he asked. "Shouldn't we take advantage now of 21st century technology and do all our business electronically?"

IQM2 projects savings of approximately $40,000 per year for a municipality of about 9,000 people. Southampton, N.Y., a town with a population of about 57,000, saw personnel, paper and toner costs drop by more than $240,000 a year after converting to the system.

Leonia currently pays $950 a month for the service and could save up to 90 percent in copying and distributing costs, said Knott.

Borough Clerk Fran Lehmann is already seeing a much faster turnaround for meeting minutes and agendas as a result of the technology, allowing her to condense time spent preparing documents by entire workdays.

"It's very simple [to use]," she said. "I like it. I wish I've had it for the last 12 years."

With IQM2, officials and residents alike will have a host of resolutions, ordinances, minutes and other bits of information at their fingertips. That kind of access will be invaluable, said Knott.

"I think it's going to be very popular with the naysayers who say there's no transparency within the governing body," he said.

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About IQM2
IQM2 is a market leader in furnishing end-to-end public meeting and Open Government software solutions through their award-winning Open Meeting Management System applications including MinuteTraq (agenda process improvement), MediaTraq (Live/On-Demand Video Streaming) and E-Boardroom (electronic voting).

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