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Cape County to add online bidding system

Photo by Jay Forness

Cape Girardeau County will soon accept bids online, instead of only allowing companies to submit bids in-person or through the mail.

The Cape Girardeau County Commission approved a contract with Ion Wave Technologies, based in Springfield, to add an online bidding platform for county purchases. The one-year contract costs $10,000 for the platform and an additional $1,000 for set-up and training.

“This is something we have been working on for a while,” County Clerk Kara Clark Summers said, adding that the county was able to use the same contract Ion Wave has with Boone County, which started using the online system last year.

“This platform will provide for electronic bidding, so if someone was bidding on one of our projects, they could still hand deliver it but they could also submit the bid online,” Summers said. “The bid would be sealed until the time it is supposed to be opened, so it would be protected.”

Commissioner Charlie Herbst said there have several times bids have been received past the deadline due to shipping delays. “Twice in the past two months, bids that were supposed to come in by 10 a.m. came at 2 p.m.”

Summers said these companies did have the option to hand-deliver the bids, but these bids were guaranteed by shipping companies to arrive at the county by a specific time but still didn’t make it. “We are seeing that more and more,” she said.

In addition to adding more options for vendors, Summers said the online bidding system will allow the county to automatically send out relevant bids to companies who have registered with the county.

“Companies will be able to go online and put in the different commodities that they would want to bid on, and then those type of bids would automatically be sent to all of the companies in those groups,” Summers said.

Summers said the new system will also allow companies to change their contact information online without having to call the county. “We would keep it up to the vendors to keep their information up to date through this system,” she said, adding that there have been several times where vendors have missed a bid because the information was sent to someone who moved or changed jobs.

Herbst said Boone County staff members have given the system a positive review, with most of their vendors using the online option. He added that the system has helped them keep all former bid requests and contracts centrally located and easy to find.

In other action

• The Cape Girardeau County approved the reappointment of Jane Wernsman as the county health officer on Feb. 17. Wernsman has been the director of the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center since 2012.

• The commission updated its mileage reimbursement policy to follow the State of Missouri’s reimbursement rate. The change raises the rate from 38 cents per mile to 49 cents per mile.

The county only reimburses for official travel made by county employees – including training or other official business. Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said the county had used the 38-cent rate for at least 10 years.

• The county has discontinued its countywide COVID-19 briefings with area emergency management organizations, with the last virtual meeting taking place on March 3. These meetings, organized by the county’s office of emergency management, have taken place for almost two years.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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