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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • iPads for city commissioners contested as budget priority plan stalls

  • Disharmony over plans to buy iPads for city commissioners and move council meetings to the Rowe Safety Complex stalled the capital improvement budget statement offered by City Administrator Joe Johnson.Johnson, City Clerk Arnold Ehlers and Mayor Jack Hobbie met earlier to prioritize 2014 spending and Johnson reported ...
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  • Disharmony over plans to buy iPads for city commissioners and move council meetings to the Rowe Safety Complex stalled the capital improvement budget statement offered by City Administrator Joe Johnson.
    Johnson, City Clerk Arnold Ehlers and Mayor Jack Hobbie met earlier to prioritize 2014 spending and Johnson reported Monday that iPads for city commissioners and $15,000 to move council chambers were high on the list.
    Setting priorities also involved Parks Commission Jeff Crunk on park department issues and Street Commissioner Dean Handy on street issues.
    Finance Commissioner Mark Mercer said Monday that he does not need an iPad and said he does not think the $2,500 expense will improve council efficiency.
    He also said the city council might use the meeting room at the safety complex if a large crowd is expected, but said the city can continue using its current space without additional expense.
    Regarding the iPads, Ehlers said city police currently hand-deliver packets of documents and copies related to the upcoming council meetings.
    He said the expense of the copies couple with his time and the police time exceeds the cost of the iPads.
    Mercer said he was satisfied when Ehlers e-mailed the packets and said city commissioners should buy their own iPads if they want to use them.
    Mercer moved to drop the projects to the bottom and adopt the priority plan, but the motion failed for a lack of a second.
    He then moved to drop the iPad and chambers project to the bottom of list without approving the priority plan, but the motion failed on a 2-2 vote.
    Parks Commissioner Jeff Crunk voted with Mercer, saying the city has not yet determined how much it will have in its capital improvements budget, so he is not able to tell which projects on the list will be funded.
    Public Works Commissioner Jim Stark was absent from the meeting.
    Mayor Hobbie moved to revisit the capital improvements plan at the council's Aug. 5 meeting.
    Also ranked high on the list is a project to bury a fiber optic line from city hall to the Morton-James Public Library.
    Earlier this year, city hall was connected with the safety complex.Also ranked in the top 15 are a new dump truck and asphalt patching machine for the street department, new police vehicle, new pool vacuum and new chemical control equipment for the pool.
    Finishing a low priorities are new diving boards for the pool, new pool valves and video recording equipment for cable channel and internet.
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