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Presenting Prince Edward County

Presentation is very important when promoting anything, and in today’s day and age, it is often particularly important to be presentable on more than one level.

For example, if you are highlighting or promoting a locality, you want the place to look great and well-maintained on a physical level for people who happen to be driving through or visiting in person. However, you also want to put the locality’s best foot forward digitally through its website for someone researching the place on the web.

Prince Edward County and its Board of Supervisors addressed the latter concern in an important way during the board’s July 9 meeting that I wanted to make note of in this column.

County Administrator Wade Bartlett helped open the discussion when he said, “If you recall, we had $15,000, 16,000 in the last year’s budget, and we went out for bid (on) an estimate for companies to redo our website. Our website is about 12 years old now. It’s out of date, and we received — I believe it was — three bids, but I’m going to turn this over to Kate (Pickett Eggleston). Kate has experience working as a project manager on various website development projects before she came to Prince Edward, including the design and implementation of the Town of Farmville website.”

Eggleston then reported to the board that the county issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in May for a completely new website design and implementation.

“The plan is for the website to be easier to navigate, to be user friendly and to serve as a marketing tool to highlight all the many great assets that we have here in Prince Edward County,” she said. “We plan for it to have a strong search feature, a ‘How Do I?’ feature, which will allow citizens to figure out how to achieve and contact the services they need. There will be a contact form and the ability to accept online payments.”

She drew supervisors’ attention to the board meeting packet, which contained a pricing matrix for the three companies that responded to the RFP, comparing them.

“Granicus was right in the mid-range for pricing but overall had more to offer than the lowest-priced company, which I believe was Revize,” she said. “We’ve spoken to the references of Granicus, and the county administrator and I reviewed and scored all three companies, and after careful consideration, it is the staff recommendation that the board approve the contract with Granicus and authorize the county administrator to execute all contract documents at this time.”

Bartlett pointed out a paragraph in the board meeting packet summary that stated, “Granicus is a company based out of Washington, D.C. The company has been in business for 21 years, has had over 4,000 clients, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense. Recent Commonwealth of Virginia clients include Fairfax County, City of Herndon, Williamsburg, Augusta County and Frederick County.”

“And that’s just some of them,” Bartlett added. “They have more clients also in Virginia and outside, and we looked at some of their websites that they’ve done for other localities, and they have a very good product, and I think we’ll be very happy with them. It will also allow us to maintain the website for quite a bit of the items so we don’t have to go to them all the time.”

The board unanimously approved the contract with Granicus and authorized Bartlett to execute all contract documents.

I’d like to commend Eggleston, Bartlett and the board for their efforts to update and optimize the digital presentation of the county.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.