Every member of the St. Lawrence County legislature is getting a new iPad, courtesy of the federal government.
The 19 new iPads - for legislators and administrative staff - were purchased by county emergency services director Joe Gilbert using grant money from the Department of Homeland Security, at a cost of about $11,000.
Some administrative staff are already using the iPads, and county legislators will be given theirs by the end of April.
Legislators will be able to take the iPads home, but county legislator Jim Bunstone, (D-district 10), said legislators will have to log onto their iPads using their official county email address, and that their work will be routed through St. Lawrence County's servers.
"It's a tool legislators are using to serve the taxpayers, to make things more efficient," Bunstone said.
The justifications for the expense?
The iPads are included as part of an overall plan that includes re-wiring the county legislative chamber for use as an emergency operations center, where county officials could gather in a crisis.
"Those iPads were one small piece of a larger plan to have a robut and functioning county emergency operations center," Gilbert told 7 News reporter John Friot.
The more everyday use of the iPads will be to view meeting agendas and other documents. County officials said they spend close to $10,000 a year in printing and paper costs, plus staff time.
"Because we don't use as much paper products, it'll make it a lot more efficient for us to keep up to date with what's going on," said Don Peck, (R-district 5) legislator.
Thursday, May 28, 2015, Watertown, NY
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