A public hearing on Commonwealth driven changes to Gloucester’s procurement (purchasing) ordinance is scheduled for October 6th at 7:30PM. At that time the People of Gloucester County and our elected leaders will have the opportunity to consider and discuss removing the words “and set forth in writing” and “The writing shall document the basis for this determination” from the following section on methods of procurement.

(c) Upon a determination made in advance by the purchasing manager and set forth in writing that competitive sealed bidding is either not practicable or not fiscally advantageous to the public, goods, services, or insurance may be procured by competitive negotiation. The writing shall document the basis for this determination.

In my opinion there should be concern anytime a requirement to document the People’s business is eradicated or circumvented. Therefore it is further my opinion that a local ordinance or policy should be created requiring the implementation of an internet accessible archive of all procurement documents that are releasable under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Central Purchasing Department admin over 1 year ago

Thank you for your idea. The Board of Supervisors decided at their October 6, 2015 meeting to continue the requirement of a writing to the file before using the competitive negotiation process.

Thank you for your recommendation related to the availability of procurement records. Per Section 22-18 of the County Code, all records related to procurement transactions are available in accordance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

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Mark Rakentine over 1 year ago

Wouldn't it first make sense to help provide unlimited data internet service the 50% of Gloucester residents that still can't get real internet going into 2016?

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Don Mitchell about 1 year ago

Actually, there are two questions there posed as one. The first is "Would the citizens of the county be better off if all had access to broadband Internet service. The answer is most likely in the affirmative.

When you add "unlimited" and ignore the costs involved, however, you remove reality from the equation. The recent staff report to the Board of Supervisors indicated an unacceptable cost to the county for a potentially reasonable level of service for a relatively small number of potential users. Realistically, except in a few academic and research environments, no such thing as "unlimited data Internet" exists. While there are potentially ways to provide some level of service to the county at a reasonable cost, it could NOT be unlimited and would not be without cost. I sent an email criticizing the recent "survey" of residents to a number of people but it will be interesting to see the answer to their questions of what people would be willing to pay for what desired level of Internet service.

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Mark Rakentine about 1 year ago

Don, there are thousands of people in this county that are underserviced as far as broadband internet....so I would think twice before calling that a "small number". All we want is the same service afforded to those at the point, courthouse and the 17 corridor...which is indeed unlimited. You do realize that the recent broadband survey was buried in the Beehive for a reason, so that we would be told that there is only "a relatively small number of potential users". Perhaps our representatives could have struck better deals with Verizon & Cox. so that so many wouldn't be left without the services that are required for life in 2016.

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Kenny Hogge Sr about 1 year ago

Mark, doesn't satellite internet work in Gloucester? From what I understand it is a form of broadband internet.

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Mark Rakentine about 1 year ago

Kenny, Of course satellite internet work in Gloucester, and I've tried it. Unfortunately with the ridiculous data caps imposed, it is not realistic for a family of four in the year 2016....unless of course someone is willing/able to pay upwards of $500 per month extra (on top of the $120/month base cost) in overages. It just doesn't seem fair to have to pay that, when residents 1 mile away can bundle their unlimited Cox or Verizon internet for a fraction of that.

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Kenny Hogge Sr about 1 year ago

Mark, If cox were to expand service to your residence, how many customers would they pickup, are those customers within 500' of the same road that cable would placed and is cable currently placed on that same road within a mile of your residence?

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Russell Fletcher about 1 year ago

Can't change the ordinance until all of the electorate have access to the I'net. In Jul 2014, I was in process of building a house. I contacted both Verizon and Cox about home service. Hampton and NN were getting the Fios upgrade and the G'town local Verizon's Mgr tried to get that equipment relocated to G'town but the VZ management in Richmond declined the request, because in their mind, DSL is dead. Contacted Cox cable. Initial cost estimate was ~$3.5K, with that expense being shared if my neighbor wanted to go in on it. After much haggling for almost a year on the cost/proposed route, etc, I am happy to say internet was installed two days ago. While in limbo, we used a 15 gig a month cell phone plan in lieu of all the liens that come with the satellite service (2 yr contract, data cap, weather, peak vs. non peak, no gaming, etc). We didn't think the installation would take as long as it did, however, now that it is over, we are now part of the informed Gloucester community. HOWEVER, I am a huge advocate for those who don't have affordable internet with, yes, unlimited service (or affordable large data packages). WHY? Everything is on the internet. You want a form from hospital, insurance agency, etc, go on line and print it or fill it out online. Gloucester High School teachers require homework to be emailed to them - yes, you read that right. But what if you don’t have internet or an email? The teacher’s response, you can come in early or stay late. REALLY? Now someone has to adjust their schedule to take you to school early or pick you up late all because someone doesn’t have internet and the requirement was levied against you as part of your grade. The School and extracurricular activities all have facebook pages to keep students and parents informed. The Sheriff has a facebook page, the county has this website. It baffles me that we say the children are the future, they need a new school, the teachers need more money, they need this, they need that, but there is no push in the county to get affordable, non-restrictive internet across the county. BTW, if you want a real assessment of the number of people who do or do not have internet access, do a face to face survey on a Saturday at strategic locations across the county (Wawa, Walmart, the Wellness center, Raceway at the point, post offices, etc.). The beehive is not the first place to base a decision off of.

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Mark Rakentine 12 months ago

Kenny, sorry not to answer sooner but as you know...I don't have real internet!! If Cox were to expand to my home, there would be potentially 30-35 new customers. The cable ends in the middle of the incoming neighborhood, where one side of the road has it, and when you cross the street the remaining 35 homes do not. I have been lectured to that that would not produce a large enough return on investment for Cox or Verizon to bother with. An our County officials who signed the deals with these monopolies, are just fine with these companies telling taxpayers like me that I don't matter.

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