Kansas City debuted the new “paperless” ticketing system yesterday in an effort to become the first city in the nation to move away from traditional tickets to what they describe as a more “green” way to handle the municipal court system.
After a year of planning and preparation, the Kansas City Missouri Municipal Court system is officially green as it becomes the first municipal court system in the nation to go completely paper-free.
On Monday, the court debuted its new computerized case management system, with more than two million paper tickets in the system for review digitally.
Wow, a paperless system. (Nothing could go wrong there.) So, how paperless is paperless?
On Sunday, Kansas City Missouri Police began issuing e-tickets, where officers scan the drivers license of violators, and give drivers a paper receipt.
So, not really paperless at all. They’ve replaced being handed a “ticket” to being handed a “receipt” for a ticket. It’s still paper.
The only difference is the equipment used to print on the paper. Last week it was the old-school-but-cheap ballpoint pen… now it’s high tech UPS-style (and much more expensive) hand-held scanner/printers.
So how cost-effective will this program be?
City leaders call the transformation, expected to save the city $1 million annually, a huge success, saying it took place on time and on budget.
Wow, that sounds nice. But don’t take the “city leaders” word for it. You have to read the very last sentence of the article (where the most important statistic usually is) to get an actual answer to that question…
The new paperless system cost the city $6 million to implement.
Cash-strapped and economically screwed, Kansas City spent $6 million to implement a program that will save roughly $1 million annually. So assuming there’s no kinks in the system, no upkeep or replacements for the fancy little scanners, and no other monetary issues to consider regarding the new system, then we’ll start saving that money around 2017… and that’s with the big “if” in play.
This is the same “spend money to make money” mentality that led to the bailouts and stimulus packages and so many other government calamities.
It’s not the first time, even in the last month, that Missouri has been in this kind of dim-witted situation. Just look at how they’ve handled spending on the Rest Stop to Welcome Center conversions in the name of “saving” money. (Those will be cost-effective in about a hundred years.)
If our government, from top to bottom, can’t learn that this “spending money to save money” approach to budgets is exactly what has bankrupted our country over the last decade then we are in for a world of hurt in the years to come.