Training fund to pay for iPads in Sunset

Dec 7 2012 - 12:39am

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SUNSET -- Sunset City Council members plan to reduce the amount of job training they receive during 2013 so they can buy 10 iPads for $3,790.

The council this week unanimously agreed to pull funds from the city council and mayor line item budget to pay for the devices, City Recorder Susan Hale said.

The money in that fund is used to send city representatives to the biannual Utah League of Cities and Towns training conferences held in St. George, Mayor Chad Bangerter said.

Because Sunset doesn't always send all of its city leaders to the training sessions held twice a year, Bangerter said, there is a little "fund slack" in that account.

"This was the easiest way to pay for this stuff now," he said.

But, the mayor adds, at this time he has no intention of using one of the devices unless forced to do so.

By a 3-2 vote, the city council on Nov. 7 approved buying the devices.

Councilmen Ryan Furniss and Kevin Snow, who voted in favor of the purchase, along with Councilman Brent Andrews, claim the devices will improve communication among city leaders and city staff, while saving the city from having to produce binders full of paper reports.

Councilmen Jake Peterson and Ricky Carlson voted against the purchase.

The iPads will be issued to city leaders and department heads.

"This isn't about saving paper and ink, this is about gifts," Bangerter said.

He said on several occasions Furniss has referred to the items as "gifts."

"My opinion," Bangerter said, "is after a couple of years these councilmen are going to inherit the iPads," rather than turn them back to the city when they leave the council.

In an earlier interview, Furniss indicated he personally won't be needing one of the iPads. He said he already has one, provided to him as a member of the North Davis Sewer District Board.

In that position, Furniss said, he sees the advantage of having such technology in hand.

One resident who attended this week's council meeting said the purchase of the iPads was a misuse of city funds, according to officials.

The council became interested in buying iPads after reading in the Standard-Examiner that Layton city had purchased iPads for its council members, Bangerter said.

A major difference between the two cities, Bangerter said, is that Sunset has an annual budget of $3.8 million, while Layton has an annual budget in excess of $50 million.

Hale said the city has already received its iPads, but they have yet to be issued.

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