Angus Council must do all it can to slash its “stunning” £50,000 a year bill for courier services, it has been claimed.
With £20 million of budget cuts looming, the local authority has been urged to take steps to reduce printing and delivery costs and go paperless where possible.
Figures released under freedom of information (FoI) revealed the council spent £48,908 on courier services in 2011-12 and £47,936 last year.
The local authority said the courier service was used to deliver and collect mail from council offices in Angus.
The figure included the £6,400 cost of delivering council papers to councillors in 2011-12, which dropped slightly to £5,840 last year.
Councillor Ewan Smith has already gone paperless after being left “stunned” by the amount of council-related paper arriving at his door.
He said the FoI figures are evidence that more must be done to embrace and cut the cost of courier services and printing costs.
Mr Smith said: “The budget is looming large, and by the looks of it there will be quite swingeing cuts on a lot of services.
“I don’t doubt for a second that these cuts are unavoidable but we also have a responsibility to try and lessen the impact on frontline services and look at things we can do to save money.
“The figures show this is something we need to look at, but this is only the cost of delivery it would frighten me to think of the cost of printing all these documents.
“I know there are a lot of important documents that have been to shared, but there’s absolutely no reason why the majority of this can’t be done by email.
“If you can use the internet to transfer tens of thousands of pounds through mobile banking then I don’t see why we can’t do more of our business online.
“The technology is there and the money we can save is important. I would rather cut services to myself as an elected member than to the taxpayer.”
He believes councillors could help slice a significant financial burden from the public purse by using their laptops or tablets instead of printed agendas.
Mr Smith, who represents Arbroath West and Letham, said all councillors can gain access to iPads or a laptop if they want one, but he accepts it may be a more difficult transition for older colleagues.
He added: “I have been to a few council meetings now since going paperless and I’ve been pleased to see some of our officers sitting there with iPads or laptops.
“I know it is all about individual choice and it’s important we don’t exclude people from having access to the same information as anyone else.
“However, there are a few other councillors who could move paperless without it being too much of a transition.
“We should be looking at cuts closer to home. In the grand scheme of things making such changes might be relatively small but if we can save a service then surely it’s the right way to go.”
Angus Council recently decided to reduce its committee structure and revise its report templates to reduce length and printing costs.
A council spokeswoman said: “We are currently reviewing our services to make sure that the most economically advantageous service will be utilised to meet the councillors’ requirements and ensuring best value for the council.”