City expands use of laserfiche to preserve documents

Published 3:34 am Friday, January 2, 2009

By Staff
A number of years ago the City Clerk's office began the process of electronically scanning the minutes for all City Council and Planning Commission meetings into an electronic file system called Laserfiche.
This system allows the user to search city records in a way that is similar to searching for information on the Internet.
A couple of months ago the city purchased the network version of this software and began the process of scanning additional information into the electronic archive system.
The purpose of purchasing the network version of Laserfiche is to provide fast, reliable and simple access of documents throughout city departments.
Work has begun in earnest to scan additional documents into the system.
Currently, the following information is available in electronic form:
Council minutes.
Council agenda packets with complete background material, 2006-2008.
Council resolutions, 1999-2008.
Friday letters, 2003-2008.
Planning Commission minutes, 1971-2003.
Planning Commission agendas, 2008.
Zoning Board of Appeals minutes.
Brownfield Redevelopment Authority agendas, 2006-2008.
City Charter.
Municipal Code.
Comprehensive Plan.
Parks and Open Space Plan.
Water and sewer locations.
Sewer maps and permits for the Sister Lakes area.
Intergovernmental agreements with Cassopolis, Sister Lakes and Indian Lake.
We are now beginning the process of locating and scanning all of the current agreements/contracts that are in force.
In the coming weeks, all of staff will be given access to the program and training on how to search and find information.
Documents will continue to be entered and over the coming year use will be expanded to each department.
It is anticipated that this tool will help us in our commitment service to the community.
Infrastructure grants: The news is certainly full of reports that a major economic stimulus package of the Federal Government involving major infrastructure improvement projects has a high likelihood of passing during the first quarter of 2009.
There are still many unknowns at this time.
The dollar amount of the package available to local governments, the specific grant priorities, the local cost share and the process by which grants will be authorized are but a few of the unanswered questions.
However, in an effort to put us in the queue to access this potential funding source, a list of Dowagiac infrastructure projects and cost estimates has been prepared.
We have submitted this information through the normal grant clearinghouse so that we can be included in the initial project review list.
Certainly, there will be time to further revise projects and review priorities with the council in the future.
However, this is an important step to help us be ready when Congress convenes in the coming weeks.
Don Hallowell's last day: I want to take this opportunity to thank Don for his 10 years of service to the City of Dowagiac. Jan. 2 will be his last day in the office as he ventures on to a much deserved retirement.
Christmas tree pick-up program: The city will pick up discarded Christmas trees, without charge, beginning the week of Jan. 5, 2009, and continuing through Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, weather permitting.
Trees placed in alleys will not be removed by city Department of Public Services crews. These trees will be chipped and recycled as natural compost for use by the city's Grounds Department. Trees will not be landfilled and should not be removed by refuse haulers.
– Kevin P. Anderson
City Manager