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Bal Harbour commissioners buy themselves iPad 2s

Citing green initiatives and eventual savings, Bal Harbour commissioners agree to buy themselves a set of iPad 2 tablets. The Apple devices would be property of the village.

By Rodolfo Roman

Special to the Herald

Bal Harbour council members are getting Apple iPad 2s, saying the devices will help the town be more ecofriendly .

Council member Patricia Cohen suggested purchasing the tablets last month, saying it will save money and help green initiatives because the village won’t need to print meeting agendas. The Village Council agreed.

“After speaking with a few council representatives from other municipalities, I learned that it’s not uncommon for them to receive laptops to facilitate their work, communication and ease of transport of their material,” she said.

It will be the first time council members receive a computer or tablet.

Cohen also said it will make it a lot easier instead a carrying a stack of papers.

“I personally had to come with a shopping cart to be able to fit in all of my reports that I had to bring tonight. It was literally like a 20-pound bag,” she said. “The iPad would be simple to look up our agenda.”

Resident Doug Rudolph agreed.

“I think we need to consider to give you the tools you need to do the best job possible,” he said. “It’s a good idea to move forward.”

The purchase will be cost efficient said Jay Smith, community outreach director.

“The iPads will be a money saver over a course of time,” he said.

But it will take quite a while for the savings to kick in.

The council chose to purchase iPad 2s with 64 gigabytes of memory, which would cost $812 each along with a monthly fee of $39 for wireless internet service. The least expensive Apple iPad product runs for about $500.

That means the five iPads would cost the village $4,060 up front, with an annual cost of about $2,340 for wireless internet service.

The annual cost of printing the paper agendas is about $1,500 a year, said village manager Alfred Treppeda at the meeting.

Each individual agenda also costs between $4 and $12 in labor costs to assemble, said Smith. Some council members also sit on village boards.

Some council members said they weren’t familiar with Apple products.

“I have never used an iPad,” said councilman Jaime Sanz.

The village will provide in house training as needed provided by staff.

Money for buying the equipment will come from the general fund and will be property of the village.

Smith said the iPads will be used at this month’s meeting.

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