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Support Hernando libraries to avoid service cuts

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Our libraries are in danger of vast cuts and possible closures. They need our support in letting the county commissioners and county administrator know how much we value the resources, services, and programs they provide.

Let me highlight just a few: Quality programming for all ages from toddlers to teens to senior adults; numerous databases to assist with continuous learning; free internet access; a vast array of resources on countless topics from test prep, to travel guides, to parenting advice; hundreds of thousands of books to enjoy and produce lifelong readers in our children; and magazines, DVDs, downloadable e-books, books on compact discs and music.

Did I mention every Hernando County citizen has free access to these resources and programs? Let's rally together in support of this timeless institution of knowledge and enjoyment.

Please call, write or e-mail your commissioner today to support sustainable funding for your public library system.

Renee Fischer, Spring Hill

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I believe that the commissioners of Hernando County and the residents they represent deserve a few facts before making a no-bid commitment to spend $13 million over the next four years on a new radio system.

There are three other viable providers of these advanced networks. Other Florida cities (Lakeland) and counties (Sumter), in exactly the same situation as Hernando County, followed their procurement policies. They hired a consulting engineering firm to write and evaluate unbiased requests for proposal that resulted in massive savings compared with earlier sole source offers.

The Hernando Sheriff's Office implied that only by keeping the 17-year-old radio network in service with this emergency first step and slowly replacing it in phases will they avoid throwing away their existing radios that would become "boat anchors." This is a false choice. By keeping the proprietary radio network's channels in use for an extended period of time, he ensures that the county will only be able to choose Motorola radios over the next four years. There are options available from other vendors that would cut in half the cost of replacing the obsolete radios. This opportunity was not considered. By replacing the entire network, the county will still have two years to shop for new radios at half price and bidders can also offer financing.

When I worked for a competitor of Motorola's in 2009, I asked our engineers to prepare a list price turnkey proposal to replace the Hernando network and all radios. The list price to replace the system and radios did not exceed $10 million. The Florida state contract offers 25 percent discounts and RFP bids have historically been offered at much deeper discounts.

Most procurements made during ''emergencies" are ill conceived and wasteful. I encourage Hernando County to hire a consulting firm that specializes in assisting counties with these procurements so that you may consider all money saving options in these trying times.

Jeffery Hunt, Oviedo

Support Hernando libraries to avoid service cuts 12/08/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 8, 2012 9:33am]
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