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TMCNet:  iPads for Davison County commissioners? [The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.]

[November 27, 2012]

iPads for Davison County commissioners? [The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.]

(Daily Republic (Mitchell, SD) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 27--A future without paper. That's what Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett envisions.

The county commissioners discussed that possibility Tuesday during their regular meeting at the courthouse, but details were scarce on exactly how it would happen.

Claggett wants the county board to be able to access past and current documents -- budgets, photos, meeting agendas, photographs and Powerpoint presentations -- in a more efficient manner. To that end, the commissioners discussed the purchase of iPad tablet computers for early 2013.

Exactly who would prepare the documents for the commission's perusal is unclear at this point, but Claggett said such details can be worked out.

Ramon Shultz, of Tech Solutions, which handles the county's computer support, gave technical in-put.

He believes a paperless meeting environment can be achieved, but he wouldn't speculate on future computer uses by the commissioners.

"I think the iPad is the way to go," Shultz said, noting the popular touch-screen tablet computer's availability, user-friendliness and technical support.

Shultz estimated each of the small tablet computers would cost a maximum of $800, an amount that would cover the cost of the computer, five to 10 necessary applications or "apps," a wireless keyboard, and related accessories. He said a basic iPad would be sufficient for the commissioners' needs.

In some cases, governments and corporations let computer users use their own iPads and then pay employees a fee, or stipend, for official use of their personal computer, Shultz said.

"It's called BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device," he said, "and it's a system that's growing in popularity across the country." It cuts costs for government or companies and also gives the employee payment for the use of an ex-pensive piece of hardware. Employees also take better care of equipment they own, Shultz said, and upgrades and damage repairs are the user's responsibility.

Details are unclear how a Davison County stipend system would work, since none of the commissioners currently owns an iPad.

Under one scenario, Kiepke said the county would purchase the iPads and loan them to the commissioners. The machines would remain county property.

Kiepke said details of a stipend system are still in the planning stages, but one possibility is that the commissioners and Kiepke would purchase their own computers and they would receive a stipend for use of the devices.

The stipends would be taxable to the commissioners and would have to be claimed as income, Kiepke said.

Shultz, in a later phone interview, said that BYOD is the way to go, since future commissioners will likely own iPads or other sophisticated computers.

"Studies predict that 1 out of 4 people will own iPads by 2015," he said. "The BYOD philosophy is growing in business, government and education." The BYOD system reduces unnecessary and expensive duplication of resources, Shultz said. If a commissioner wants to upgrade to a better iPad, he or she would do so on their own dollar.

Shultz said Tech Solutions will not sell the iPads to the county but will only supply technical support.

Shultz, outlining a possible use scenario, said the data to be accessed by the commissioners could be placed in "Dropbox," a Web-based application which could be accessed from any computer and then pulled up as needed.

Initial purchases would be limited to six iPads: one for each of the commissioners and a sixth for Auditor Susan Kiepke.

"I'd like to see some firm numbers before we move on it," Commissioner Gerald Weiss said.

In other business, the commissioners: - Raised the 2013 contract price to neighboring counties for housing their prisoners at the Davison County Jail from the current $75 a day to $86. The county is losing money at the $75 level, said Jail Administrator Don Radel, and the hike will cover costs. The new contract begins Jan. 1.

- Approved the purchase of a 2005 Chevy Equinox to be used as a utility vehicle for the Sheriff's Of-fice and the jail. The $12,100 SUV will replace two older vehicles.

- Gave Chief Deputy Steve Brink permission to purchase a $26,568 Ford Explorer from Vern Eide Motorcars after the first of the year. The SUV will replace a worn-out Ford Crown Victoria which will be sold as surplus.

- Heard the third quarter community nursing report from nurse Natalie Van Drongelen. She said TDAP clinics are planned for area schools. TDAP vaccines protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Cases of whooping cough are up 40 percent statewide over the five-year baseline median, she said.

- Heard Van Drongelen note that 8,325 WIC food vouchers worth $129,821 were redeemed in the county through September. WIC spent about $3.66 million statewide during the same period.

- Gave Becky Gaulke of United Blood Services permission to use space at the county fair complex for blood draws in the event a public safety emergency overwhelms UBS's current facilities.

- Gave Gary Stadlman, youth program coordinator for the South Dakota Shooting Sports Association, permission to use the fairgrounds, at no charge, for the June 15 Youth Hunter Education Challenge. The program, which has written as well as shooting components, shows what kids have learned in hunter education classes. About 50 kids will participate in eight categories, Stadlman said.

- Noted the absence of Commissioner Kim Weitala, who was traveling with family and was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

___ (c)2012 The Daily Republic (Mitchell, S.D.) Visit The Daily Republic (Mitchell, S.D.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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