Grand Bank council ditches smartphones to cut costs

The mayor of Grand Bank says high costs for smartphones for the town councillors were a shock to him at over $20,000 so far this year.

More than $20,000 so far this year for council phones

Grand Bank has spent over $20,000 on smartphones for councillors so far this year. (CBC)

The mayor of Grand Bank says high costs for smartphones for the town councillors were a shock to him at more than $20,000 so far this year.

Rex Matthews said it was his first instinct to get rid of them altogether.

"It didn't make any sense to me, and it makes less sense to me when I see some of the usage. The usage wasn't for council business," Matthews said.

The town's population is 2,400, and considering the other needs of the community, Matthews said the cost for the phones wasn't worth it.

Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews says the amount of money spent on smartphones for town councillors is unreasonable. (CBC)

"We can spend $30,000 on smart phones, but when we needed a cement mixer, which every community needs, we had to go and borrow or lease or rent. Or, better still, we used to mix our cement in the bucket of our backhoe," he said.

Councillors have agreed to use their own phones or other means of communication to get in touch with one another.

Travis Parsons, one of the town’s councillors, said he won't miss the smartphones.

"I don't see a need for councillors to have something like that when they have their own personal phones that they can use," Parsons said.

"Email, Facebook, there are a lot of ways that people get in touch these days."

Matthews said the size of the town doesn't call for such an indulgence.

"We all live within two or three minutes of the town hall, so I wouldn't know what kind of emergency it would be that I would need a smartphone from the citizens of Grand Bank," he said.

"I don't see it. I don't see the need."

Council is looking to cut more unnecessary expenditures and cut thousands of dollars from their budget.


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