The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Competitive Bids/Proposals (CM-Comm.)

Reference Number: MTAS-1641
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: October 12, 2015

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Competitive prices for all purchases and public improvements must be obtained whenever possible in accordance with regulations established by ordinance. Acquisitions and contracts must be given to the lowest and best bidder, and a municipality may reject any bids.

Formal sealed bids must be taken in all transactions involving an expense amount to be set by ordinance. The amount must not be less than $2,500 or more than $10,000. A written contract must be entered into once the deal is made.

The charter authorizes the board of commissioners, upon written recommendation of the city manager and by unanimous resolution of those present at the meeting, to authorize noncompetitive contracts where it is clearly to the advantage of the municipality not to contract with competitive bidding.

The city manager may reject all bids and assign public improvements or any other municipal work to a municipal department.

"Competitive sealed bids" generally means both sealed bids and sealed proposals.

The charter authorizes the board of commissioners to delegate by ordinance to the city manager the authority to enter into binding contracts on behalf of the city, without specific board approval, in routine matters and matters not having substantial long-term consequences (fiscal year expenditures less than $10,000).

Sealed proposals should be used if the criteria for vendor selection can be clearly defined, the selection process will benefit the municipality, and the process is approved by the municipality’s board of commissioners. For more information, see "Purchasing through Competitive Sealed Proposals" in the sample purchasing procedures.

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