New iPads for city workers could cost Dubuque taxpayers $17K - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New iPads for city workers could cost Dubuque taxpayers $17K

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The city of Dubuque wants to purchase 18 new iPads in FY15 The city of Dubuque wants to purchase 18 new iPads in FY15

By state law, cities must adopt and certify fiscal year 2015 budgets by March 15. Dubuque's proposed budget includes a plan to buy 18 new iPads for city employees -- to the tune of close to $17,000.

While the city already has more than 60 tablets, officials say getting additional ones would be worth the cost.

Departments ranging from engineering and housing to public works and human rights are currently using the city's existing tablets in their work. Those are mostly iPads, but include a few Android devices as well.

Tom Kopp, an engineering technician for the city of Dubuque, responds to complaints of unshoveled and icy sidewalks and uses an iPad to log what he sees when he gets there.

"I think it's money well-spent," Kopp said, standing with the tablet beside a snowy sidewalk in the 900 block of Cleveland Avenue Monday afternoon. "(The iPad) streamlines everything a little bit better, and all the information is locked in."

Kopp, who has been an engineering technician for Dubuque for seven years, says the iPad drastically cuts down on the amount of paperwork he has to file.

"That saves a lot of time that we can maybe be doing something else that benefits the city," Kopp said.

The device also puts all the information he needs out in the field in his fingers, cutting down on extraneous trips back to the office.

Over at the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center, emergency communications manager Mark Murphy is slated to get a tablet in fiscal year 2015.

"It would give me the access to having a computer with me all the time to go green, so I'm not making copies of papers when I'm going to meetings," Murphy said.

Additionally, he said, when disaster strikes, dispatch needs all hands on deck. An iPad would allow him to monitor 911 call volume when he's out of the office and call in extra dispatchers if needed.

"I can be able to monitor what's going on with our new software we're getting," Murphy said. "I'd be able to remote in with the tablet."

The city wants a total of 18 new iPads in fiscal year 2015 at about $930 per device. The data plan for each is about $40 a month.

Dubuque will hold the final public hearing on its proposed budget at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Historic Federal Building.

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