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CALEDONIA — In danger of being drowned in documents, village officials were tossed a lifeline Thursday night.

The Caledonia Village Board agreed to spend almost $153,000 over the next five years for a digital workflow system that would eliminate much of the village’s current paper documents and files.

At a special meeting, the board voted 5-0 to retain Impact Networking of Brookfield to install a cloud-based system to handle almost all paperwork activity, including accounts payable, invoices and permits.

Under the agreement, the village will pay Impact $2,542 a month for five years for the system and service. Impact representatives showed board members on Thursday how the system would work.

“Think of us as recreating your file cabinets electronically,” said Josh Thompson, Impact’s strategic services branch manager. “Who has access to what information is completely up to you.”

The cloud-based system will store 50 gigabytes of information to start, said Impact consultant Stephanie Jahn. For example, one gigabyte would equal between 10,000 and 15,000 PDFs (portable document format), she said.

Village Administrator Tom Christensen said he reviewed three vendors to provide the much-needed system.

“We’re swimming in paperwork,” Christensen said. “Our goal is to simplify things as much as we can.”

The system, which should be up and running sometime in the next three months, also will reduce the amount of files and paper that need to be moved to the new Village Hall, which is being constructed off Four Mile Road near Crawford Park, Christensen said.

The village plans to scan in 15 cabinets of village assessment records into the system so those files won’t have to be moved next spring, Christensen said.

Village officials are reviewing what other “legacy” records could be entered into the system. By state law, some records must be retained in paper form for a certain period of time. The village will clarify what those records are, Christensen said.

The proposed contract with Impact came before the village’s finance committee earlier this week, but was tabled after several board members asked to see how the system worked.

The exact system, DocuWare, was created in 1988 and is used by more than 15,000 customers, Thompson said, including the federal Department of Defense.

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