Franklin County commissioners will soon switch to a paperless method of conducting meetings in an attempt to save time and money.

The county commission on Tuesday approved a contract with a firm called IQM2 of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., to provide a program called e-Boardroom.

With the program, the county commissioners will be able to view documents that are up for approval at meetings on a computer screen rather than in hard copy form.

“It’s a much better system than what we’ve got right now,” Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said.

Currently, the commissioners get a packet of documents for each meeting, and sometimes there can be lots of paper. For instance, some of the contracts can be lengthy, Griesheimer said.

With the paperless system, each commissioner will have a laptop computer to view during the meetings and review documents.

Also, the documents will be projected onto a screen in the boardroom so audience members can follow along.

The system will allow commissioners to cast votes electronically, Griesheimer added.

Under the contract, the county will pay IQM2 $350 a month for the e-Boardroom program.

Even with this cost, Griesheimer said the county will still save money compared to the amount of ink and paper that is consumed printing documents for meetings.

However, county officials say it is hard to put a dollar value on how much money will be saved.

The $350 monthly contract cost for the computer program will come from the county clerk’s election services fund.

Also, it will save time for the commissioners’ secretary because she will no longer have to assemble the agenda packets, Griesheimer said.

The new system is expected to be running by the beginning of April.

Other local government entities including school boards, the city of Washington and the city of Union have already gone to a paperless meeting system.