SOUTH PORTLAND — City councilors will decide whether to buy themselves iPads tonight.

The council will take up a proposal to purchase seven iPads and a year’s worth of data plans for a total cost of $6,503.

The councilors would use the iPads primarily for city communications, with meeting agendas and back-up materials stored on the tablet devices. The city said the move would save “considerable” staff time and printing costs by eliminating the need for paper agendas and informational material, although the amount of the savings has not been calculated.

The city has also developed a policy on iPad use which notes that official emails sent on the devices are public records, councilors aren’t supposed to conduct private business on the devices and aren’t to send or read emails during council meetings on their iPads.