By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser City Council is looking to save some money on city-supplied cell phones and to determine which employees should be provided with the devices.
During their regular council meeting held Wednesday via Zoom, city administrator Amanda Brafford said a cellular provider had given her a quote for 15 phones and it would save the city approximately $150.
“We currently only use 11 phones, so we could probably save even more,” she said.
Brafford said the plan would include phones for the city’s supervisors, as well as eight or nine personnel in the police department.
When asked how much the city currently spends for cell phones, finance commissioner Mike Ryan replied, “We pay $8,420 out of the police department budget for phones.”
“That’s a lot of money,” council member Billy Meek said.
Mayor Damon Tillman said he thought the officials need to discuss the issue further before making a decision, and Ryan agreed.
“We need to look at it a little closer,” Ryan said.
Meek questioned who should be provided with a phone.
“At what point do we stop giving everyone a phone?” he said.
Street and sewer supervisor Jim Hannas noted, however, that cell phones are used by the members of the various departments who are often out on the job all day.
“I call them sometimes three or four times a day,” he said, noting that many of the workers who use their own phones “never asked for anything” to be paid toward their personal bills.
It was noted that at one time the workers had radios in their vehicles, but service is often spotty in the area.
“The police department just got a $50,000 grant for new radios, maybe the city could use the one ones?” Brafford asked.
“The towers are the problem,” Hannas said of the spotty service.
The officials agreed to look closer at the issue, including having Brafford take an inventory of who has city-provided cell phones.
Tillman said he feels everybody should be treated equally.
“What’s good for one needs to be food for everybody,” he said.
“They don’t need to be smart phones; they don’t need to be top dollar phones. But we’re going to sit down and figure something out,” he said.