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February 27, 2013

Grand Traverse board to get iPads

TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners is going paperless.

Commissioners recently approved the purchase of a set of iPads from local retailer CityMac.

“I think it’s a good move overall,” county Administrator Dave Benda said. “The county board is hearing more and more that technology is a major factor in the way we deliver services. This will help them to get more technologically adept.”

Each iPad costs about $600. The total cost is roughly $4,200.

Commissioners discussed going paperless for the better part of a year. Board members argued the move promotes green-friendly, tech-savvy and more efficient practices.

The commission originally pursued the idea by way of an $850 technology stipend that would have been added to the paychecks of board members. Commissioners unanimously approved the stipend in January, but it was later abandoned amid questions of its legality.

State statute prevents county commissions from altering board members’ compensation mid-term.

The county will own the iPads under the new terms approved by the commission.

Commissioner Christine Maxbauer said iPads will make board members more effective and efficient. She said other county boards and departments should move in a similar direction.

“We’re talking about it at the Commission on Aging now,” Maxbauer said. “I have to tell you, the paper we go through over at the Commission on Aging is unbelievable. With today’s technology, it’s just unnecessary.”

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