The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Governed by the Charter

Reference Number: MTAS-1658
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: October 12, 2015
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Municipalities that have charter provisions dealing with competitive bidding and either establish bid limits in the charter itself or allow bid limits to be set by ordinance should operate under the charter provisions. Here, however, the municipality must establish via charter or ordinance general bid procedures, including public advertising, securing and opening bids, and any exemptions from competitive bidding.

For municipalities with charter provisions that deal with competitive bidding but set no bidding limits, the municipality may by ordinance set a limit not to exceed $25,000 over which public advertisement and competitive bidding are required. These municipalities must also by ordinance set a dollar limit not exceeding 40 percent of this bid limit amount over which the municipality need not advertise but, when possible, must obtain three competitive bids and below which no advertisement or competitive bidding is required. The ordinance must also establish procedures for public advertising, securing and opening bids, and any exemptions from competitive bidding.

When private act charters or home rule charters control buying, it is important to know which organizations and purchases, if any, are exempt. Exemptions must be substantially similar to those found in T.C.A. § 6-56-304.

You must determine what authority the municipal governing body has concerning establishing policy and procedures for the buying process.

Responsible: