Atlantic County will soon begin accepting bids using a new automated online auction service as it transitions to fully paperless auctions.
“This system will improve the process on both sides, for our staff and, more importantly, for our vendors,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said in a statement. “This will eliminate the costs for vendors to hand-deliver bids or hire someone to do it for them. It will also provide automated notifications to bid vendors and check for errors if any information has been omitted prior to submission.
The county awarded a $103,000 contract to Bid Express late last year and began training staff and notifying vendors of the upcoming transition. According to Purchasing Manager Palma Conover, the county will begin using the new system this summer with the goal of being completely paperless by the end of the year.
Conover noted that vendors will have secure access to their bids and will also be able to correct or modify their bids before each bid submission deadline. They will also be informed if all the required documents are not completed rather than face rejection of an offer for this reason.
Sellers should be registered with www.bidexpress.com to be notified of future Atlantic County bidding opportunities.
“We believe this e-tendering system will help streamline the process and save a considerable amount of paper and time required to prepare paper bids,” Levinson said.
While the Bid Express system is used by many organizations with associated fees, the county waives all fees for vendors bidding on Atlantic County projects.
In other cases, the county announced that the South Jersey Economic Development District made a final payment on a loan that helped it survive and thrive.
Ten years ago, the SJEDD, representing Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties, was bankrupt with a large debt. Today, the federally funded agency that coordinates regional economic development initiatives is debt free after making its final payment on a $275,000 loan to the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, three years more sooner than expected. The CFIA granted SJEDD the loan to meet part of its financial obligations.
Atlantic County Commissioner John Risley, whom Levinson appointed to represent Atlantic County and is currently chair of SJEDD, recognized the efforts of SJEDD Executive Director Lou Joyce, members of his board of administration and former chairman, Cape May County Commissioner Will Morey.
“It’s rewarding to hit solvency sooner than expected,” Risley said. “The whole team is to be congratulated.”
SJEDD is currently working with its four county members to provide funding and technical assistance for COVID recovery and resilience plans. It has also partnered with the Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation to offer business loans through a revolving loan fund. In Atlantic County, SJEDD funding is helping the Atlantic County Economic Alliance identify properties to spur development and job creation.
“SJEDD has made great strides and is hard at work supporting our efforts to strengthen the regional economy,” Levinson said.