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Cottage Grove council rejects city iPad purchases

A divided Cottage Grove City Council rejected a staff recommendation to purchase iPad2 computer tablets for use by council and commission members at City Hall.

The city wants to save money by not printing paper copies of meeting documents, which can reach hundreds of pages per council member for a routine meeting. City staff had proposed purchasing nine Apple iPad2 devices for a total of $5,433, or roughly $600 apiece. The device would allow council members to view documents and take notes digitally.

Finance Director Robin Roland said the iPad2 was recommended after examining a variety of options. The device has a long battery life and is virtually invulnerable to hackers and viruses, she said. It would be used in the current council chambers and after the planned move to a new city government building.

But council members told staff to look for a more affordable device after voting down the plan 3-2 on Wednesday. Derrick Lehrke, Justin Olsen and Dave Thiede opposed it while Jen Peterson and Mayor Myron Bailey backed the recommendation.

"I think we can do it for cheaper than $600," Lehrke said.

Olsen said the iPad2 is a good device but wanted more research, including into whether the city could secure laptops at a discounted rate.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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