Technological leap

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WINTON – Hertford County local government is taking a leap into the fast-paced world of hi-tech gadgets.

After several months of discussion, the county’s Board of Commissioners agreed at its meeting last week to invest just over $5,000 in purchasing Apple iPads for each of the member of the board as well as the board clerk, board attorney and county manager.

Commissioner Howard Hunter III, a member of the board’s “younger generation” who is an advocate of taking advantage of modern technology, has been shopping around for the best prices for months in anticipation of his colleagues approving the measure. Prior to Hunter’s effort, the county’s best offer was $599 for each iPad plus an additional $89 for a keyboard/case/stand for each device.

Hunter’s search for a better deal produced a price of $499 per iPad plus $139 for a more durable “clamcase” Bluetooth compatible keyboard.

“We’ve been talking about this in an effort to move from paper to electronic devices,” Hunter said. “I called Apple directly and dealt with their division that serves government contracts and came up with what I think it a pretty good deal.”

Hunter said his deal will allow the county to invest in 3G iPads with double the memory (64GB) over the other proposal. He added that the deal was about $800 cheaper than the original proposal.

For the data, the county can share 10 gigabytes for $60 per month plus $10 for each additional tablet or choose to go on a state contract that offers unlimited data for $37.99 per iPad.

“We can always switch if we choose to go with the cheaper one and then find out that we need more than 10 gigs,” Hunter noted. “There is a one-year contract with the 10 gigs and no contract if we choose to go with the unlimited data.”

“I think we all agree this is something we need to do, to move in this technological direction,” said Commission Chairman Curtis Freeman. “What is the preference of the board as to which proposal we need to accept?”

Hunter made a motion to approve his level of pricing. Commissioner Bill Mitchell offered a second and the motion was approved by a 5-0 vote.

As far as to what level of data to use with the new iPads, the board agreed to give County Manager Loria Williams the authority to seek out the best deal.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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