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Keokuk Starts Using iPads

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Thursday night’s Keokuk City Council meeting had a feeling of Christmas as aldermen opened the boxes containing their new iPads.

The city spent more than $6,000 to purchase the devices for the nine city council members along with the Mayor, City Clerk, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Public Works Director, and Community Development Director.

The iPads are for the specific position or office-holder, not the individuals.  There is a device for the 3rd Ward Alderman, not for Ron Payne, for example.

Mayor Tom Marion says the goal is to improve meeting efficiency and reduce costs.  He says City Clerk Barb Barnes had to print close to 600 pages for a recent meeting.

Marion expects the iPads to be used for taking notes, reviewing documents, and scheduling meetings.

The council received a roughly 25-minute tutorial during the meeting from Fire Chief Gabe Rose, who has a background in computer technology.  There was definitely some confusion as phrases like “my screen just went dark” or “it is not doing anything when I touch it” were said several times.

The five council members in attendance ended up using the devices during discussions about street construction and city finances.

Marion says the iPads are to remain at city hall, but several council members planned to take them home to test them out.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.