NewsChannel 10 Investigates: Potential wasteful spending in Potter County

NewsChannel 10 Investigates: Potential wasteful spending in Potter County

AMARILLO, TX - Potter County has had its fair share of financial trouble in recent years so when purchasing iPads for county employees went on the commissioner's agenda this week, NewsChannel 10 wanted to find out where they would be getting the money from to invest thousands of dollars into technology.

When we took our questions to Potter County regarding item No. 9 on the agenda asking for the commissioners approval to purchase iPads, no commissioner or Justice of the Peace wanted to go on camera Thursday to talk about it.

On April 23, Potter County commissioners considered approving the purchase of iPads, accessories, software, apps and data packages for each Justice Court.

The debate ended with no vote, sending the proposal back on the agenda for the upcoming May 14 meeting.

We spoke with Commissioner Joe Kirkwood briefly over the phone Thursday. He declined to comment on the agenda item since no action has been taken.

We also placed calls to Commissioner Alphonso Vaughn for comment. His secretary informed us he would call us back. As of 10 p.m. Thursday, we have yet to hear back from Vaughn.

We were unable to get a hold of the other two commissioners.

We contacted Judge Thomas Jones and Judge Gary Jackson for comment. We were able to speak with both over the phone, but neither wanted to make any comments until the item goes back on the agenda next month.

NewsChannel 10 wanted to find out just how much money the county would be dishing out if the purchases were to be approved.

The cheapest iPad with mobile 3G data capabilities starts at $529.

Throw in a $50 case, screen protectors and other accessories, and each iPad can easily top $700.

The county wants to buy at least 4 of them.

The cost doesn't stop there. Data plans for iPads start at $14.99/mo. per device.

NewsChannel 10 found several laptops at Best Buy which can do more tasks at a fraction of the cost.

Laptops on the market today start out around $299.

If the purchase is approved, funding will come from a special fund associated with fines and court costs.

We want to know what you think about this potential investment. We've started a chat on facebook so get in on the conversation and leave us your feedback!