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Planning committee members given iPads





Seven 16GB memory iPad Air devices costing approximately $3,500 combined were distributed to Hays Area Planning Commission members during their meeting Monday night.

Cases costing approximately $17 each also were given, said Jesse Rohr, superintendent of the planning inspection enforcement division. Two members already owned tablets and did not receive one.

Rohr said the commission members should download the iAnnotate PDF app for $9.99 to view PDF documents on the iPads, and they would be compensated for the expense.

"What we want to do is make sure you can go to the city website, pull up a PDF to be able to view our agenda items," Rohr said.

Commissioners can upload music and buy their own apps on the iPads, but the city's IT department only will provide support related to city functions. The device must be returned to the city after commissioners leave the group.

The Apple gadgets were bought to reduce costs associated with printing meeting agendas, he said.

"Our intent is to get away from the hardcopy agendas that we mail out every month to you," Rohr said.

IT staff chose to buy iPads based on their user-friendly interface, and the shipment was bought at state contractor prices.

The technology was paid for out of PIE's travel/training budget. If necessary, money is budgeted to replace some of the devices in the future.

Larry Gould, commission chairman, said it was a good investment because of the capabilities and conveniences gained from Internet access.

"I really think that you can do things on the fly," Gould said.

"It's kind of like if a concept comes up, you don't know what it's about, you can go ahead and Google it, and you can find it right there while you're sitting during a planning commission meeting."

City staff gave commissioners updates on projects throughout the city. No votes or public hearings took place.