City officials receive tablets

ELKINS — Many city officials are using a new tool to help serve the town’s residents, as they have received new computer tablets in recent weeks.

Elkins City Council approved an agreement Aug. 17 with AT&T to obtain 17 Samsung tablets for use by city officials. The business rate plan was to cost $243.60 per month total.

Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton said the city decided to go through AT&T because “we already had service through them because of some cell phones. It’s actually only going to be 16 tablets, not 17. It’s going to be less than $243.60 a month. For the amount of data, it’s a really good deal.”

Sixteen of the 17 tablets have been distributed to the 10 City Council members, Mayor Van Broughton, Sutton, Treasurer Tracy Judy, Fire Chief Tom Meader, Police Chief Glenn Galloway and City Attorney Gerry Roberts.

Bob Pingley, the city’s operation’s manager, “already had a tablet and chose to keep that,” Sutton said.

The city clerk said the officials are learning to use their new devices, with some help from an IT professional.

“It’s a bit of a learning curve, but overall I’m very pleased,” Sutton said. “Someone from the company that does our IT service sat down and set up each tablet with each individual.

“We’re very excited about it. The Council and all the other officials are on board.”

Sutton noted the tablets will allow the city to cut down on printing costs, as City Council agendas and information packets — which sometimes total 100 or more pages — will no longer have to be printed for city officials or media representatives. All those documents will now be shared digitally.

“We’ll be doing a little printing still, so things are available to the public,” she said.

The tablets will also allow city officials to communicate with each other more quickly and efficiently, Sutton noted.

“We communicate primarily through email — this just gives them easier access to that,” she said. ” I can scan information and send information immediately.”

Elkins City Council will meet at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall.