The old three-ring binder filled with paper is on its way out of county government meetings in favor of the shiny, new touchscreen Apple iPad2.

Charleston County will start purchasing iPad2s for council members and key staffers next month, a move that will both save money and the effort of lugging around reams of paper.

We did a cost analysis and we estimated the total paper and personnel cost of the binders is about $27,000 every year, said Walter Smalls, assistant county administrator for general services.

The county plans to buy 15 iPad2s at about $900 each, for a total cost of about $13,500.

So you really have savings, Smalls said.

Smalls said the county will work out any kinks before going live with the new equipment.

Everybody's excited about it, he said. I like computers. It's just like a shovel to me. I can dig a hole faster with a shovel than with my hand.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)