SUNSET — With a yearly city budget of $3.8 million, Mayor Chad Bangerter says he is unable to justify the Sunset City Council’s decision to buy 10 brand-new iPads for the council, mayor and department heads.
The council by a 3–2 vote at a Nov. 7 meeting approved the unbudgeted expense. The council normally meets on Tuesdays, but the meeting was moved to Wednesday because of the Nov. 6 general election.
Councilmen Ryan Furniss, Brent Andrews and Kevin Snow approved the city buying 10 iPads at a total cost of $3,790.
Councilmen Jake Peterson and Ricky Carlson voted against the purchase.
But Bangerter said he personally is not interested in using one of the iPads, and he suspects there may be other city leaders who feel the same way.
“I don’t see any need of me having one,” Bangerter said.
But the councilmen who approved the purchase claim the devices will improve communication between department heads and city leaders.
“We use technology everyday in work,” Furniss said, adding that there are current council members who don’t own a working personal computer, making it difficult for the city’s department heads to contact them through email.
“We are trying to improve communication,” Furniss said.
He said the best way to do that was to purchase user-friendly iPads.
“The reason I voted for it was to make us more efficient,” he said. “That was my big issue.”
Furniss said he personally won’t be needing one of the iPads. He said he already has one, provided to him for being a member of the North Davis Sewer District Board.
In that position, Furniss said he sees the advantage of having such technology in hand. He said the devices will save city staff from having to produce binders full of paper reports.
Some city councils may not have iPads, but many of them do have laptops, Snow said.
“It’s the 21st century. I think it is going to be a great benefit to the city — we’re going to be more connected,” he said.
The iPads were not budgeted for, Snow said, but the city does have the money to pay for them and has been discussing buying media devices since the fall conference.
“That is how the whole discussion started,” he said.
The problem he sees with the council, Snow said, is its members often do not accept what has been voted on and move on from there.
But what annoys Bangerter is that the council’s decision to buy the iPads comes on the heels of Layton city providing iPads to its council members. He said Sunset councilmen discovered Layton’s purchase after reading about it in the Standard-Examiner.
“It’s just out of hand,” Bangerter said, referring to the city council acting on a whim.
The difference between Sunset and Layton, Bangerter said, is that Layton has a budget topping $50 million a year.
Also, Layton didn’t buy its iPads until after doing a study to determine if the paper-saving technology was warranted, he said.
Bangerter said the majority of the Sunset council indicated at its Nov. 7 meeting that it was unwilling to wait for any type of study to be conducted.
Councilman Brent Andrews, who approved the purchase, could not be reached for comment.