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New SF Mayor Targets City Cell Phone Surge

June 14, 2010, 9:17 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

New SF Mayor Targets City Cell Phone Surge
SIOUX FALLS, SD - With nearly a month under his belt Mayor Mike Huether says he already sees areas where cuts can be made, one of those areas is cell phones.

Huether says one out of every two city employees has a cell phone. That means taxpayers are footing the bill for more than 500 city cell phones every month.

Cell phones have become almost a necessity in every day life, but Huether says city government is becoming too dependent on the mobile devices.

"Do a lot of city employees need a cell phone? Yes they do. Do one out of every two? I don't think so," Huether said.

Huether says the talking and texting being paid for by taxpayers is going to be one of the top cost-saving moves in his upcoming budget. 

"If there's something going on in your own department that you wouldn't do in your own home, that you wouldn't do in your own business, then let's stop doing it in city government," Huether said.

Huether realizes that some employees need cell phones, that's why he's still trying to figure out how many phones to cut back on, and how much money it would save.

City council members say it's something that should be looked at, but it's not only money that should be considered but also the time saved by using cell phones. 

"Cell phones are certainly an expensive item that could be a way to save some money, just so we don't cut down on our efficiencies and our ability to communicate with the employees that provide the services for the city," Sioux Falls City Councilman Greg Jamison said.

"As long as we take a look at that and make sure that they can still operate efficiently I think it's great we look at that to save some money in city government," Sioux Falls City Councilman Vernon Brown said.

And right now Huether is putting out the call to save money by stopping the cell phone surge.

Huether is also taking aim at printers in his upcoming budget. He says the city has one printer for every three city employees, another ratio that can be cut down.

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