Doing Business with the City
The purpose of the section is to acquaint you, and other representatives who sell to the City, with the procedures followed by the Finance Department in carrying out the purchasing activities for the City of Wilson. Familiarity with the purchasing procedures will aid you materially in presenting your product to the City. It will also promote pleasant and business-like relationship with the City Purchasing personnel.
This section is intended as a general guide and as such may not answer all questions which you may have. If you have any questions not answered here, please telephone or come by.
In an average year, purchasing issues about 5,500 purchase orders with a value of approximately 17 million dollars. Because of the substantial amount of public money involved, Purchasing is guided in its purchasing procedures by several established policies are:
1. To conduct all purchasing in accordance with North Carolina Laws, City Charter and City of Wilson Code.
2. To obtain the quantity and quality of materials at the right price and when they are needed.
3. To stimulate competitive bidding in order to obtain materials and services at the lowest possible cost and to offer their products to the city.
4. To treat all vendors fairly.
Introducing Your Product
The City of Wilson engages in a number of varied activities while providing municipal services for its residents. These services include police and fire protection, water production and distribution, electrical distribution, street maintenance, garbage and trash collection and disposal, sewage disposal, parks and recreation facilitates, vehicle maintenance, planning and inspection services. A great variety of equipment, supplies and services must be purchased for the departments and divisions performing these services. These purchases are processed through Purchasing.
While it is beyond the scope of this booklet to list all the products and services which the City buys, Purchasing is interested in your product if it is needed by the City. Therefore, it is important to both you and the City that your product or service be introduced in the most efficient and effective manner possible. In accordance with the City of Wilson’s moral and legal obligations to rectify economic and social inequities, recognition is given the need for a concerted effort to be put forth to assure that minority and small business enterprises are afforded equal business opportunity to participate in all phases of its operation.
The following paragraphs will provide information which will help you to introduce your product or service.
Where the City Buys
The City of Wilson has a centralized purchasing function. Purchasing is the authority for all purchase transactions. Vendors shall not make sales to City employees without a purchase order unless approval is given by Purchasing. Employees outside Purchasing or the Finance Department do not have the authority to commit City funds unless Purchasing acts as liaison between vendor and City employee.
How the City Buys
All purchase of supplies, equipment and contractual services except professional services, where the cost exceeds $90,000 are purchased on the basis of formal competitive sealed bids.
Purchases less than $90,000 are made on an informal bid basis. Whenever possible these purchases are based on at least three informal quotations. Quotations may be solicited by mail, telephone, or personal visits by salesmen.
In case of emergency, and with the consent of the Director of Finance, the Purchasing Manager, Department Heads or their designee may purchase necessary supplies, materials, or equipment. This may be done only when it is essential that such purchases be made in order to safe-guard City property or to provide services which virtually affect the life, health or convenience for the Citizens of Wilson.
Informal bids are allowed by Fax.
Formal bids are not allowed by Fax.
Specific bidding procedures have been established by the City to conform with the requirements established by law and to provide for uniform treatment of all vendors. Small business and minority business enterprises are encouraged to participate in the bidding procedures outlined below.
It is important that each vendor be familiar with these requirements and follow them. The purchasing procedures, including these requirements, are discussed in the following sections of this Webpage.
Notice of Invitation to Bid
The process of purchasing by formal competitive bids is initiated by the City of Wilson. A notice to bid is published in the legal notices of the “official” newspaper of the City. Any minority or small business enterprise pursuant to any invitation to bid, advertisement or solicitation, will be given full opportunity to submit bids and/or proposals and will not be discriminated against on the basis or race, color, sex, physical handicap, or national origin in consideration of an award.
Notices of call for bids are also mailed to vendors whose names are maintained on a “Bidder’s List”. This list is maintained in Purchasing for each class of commodity and service which is regularly purchased by the City. The names and addresses of vendors who can furnish the required products or services and who have expressed an interested in being contacted when the City purchases such items are maintained on a current basis in Purchasing.
Application for Placement on Bidders List
Vendors applying for placement on Bidder List are requested to come by in person to Purchasing at the City of Wilson Operations Center, 1800 Herring Ave. between the hours of 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. Vendors who cannot do this, are requested to apply by downloading and filling out a Vendor Application (see below).
One of the most important factors in determining what the City buys is the quality requirement of the using department or division. This quality requirement is not necessarily the best nor the cheapest of a particular commodity. The City determines quality by need, that is, the items that are both economical and best suited for the particular use to which they will be put.
The quality required of an item or service is stipulated in a specification. Frequently, these specifications become quite technical, in other circumstances a “brand name” may be used. In either case, the specification is an expression of the quality and not a preference for a particular brand name. Vendors with products meeting or exceeding the quality requirements are invited to bid even though the brand name of their product may not be mentioned in the specifications.
Specifications are usually mailed with Notices for Invitation to Bid. They are also available in the Purchasing office and interested vendors are invited to request copies. A request in person, by telephone, or by mail will bring a copy of the specifications to you by return mail.
The purchasing department welcomes at any time vendor’s suggestions for improving either specifications or purchasing procedures.
Proposals should be submitted on the proposal form furnished by the City. Completion of the proposal form constitutes the most convenient method for both the vendor and the City. If a vendor cannot bid on all items he should mark the items on which he is not bidding with the words “No Bid”. Care would be taken that all amounts on the proposal are correct. Extensions should be double checked to insure their accuracy.
Federal excise taxes and North Carolina sales tax must be excluded from bid prices. The City of Wilson is exempt from Federal excise tax in certain instances and upon request, the Purchasing Manager will execute the exemption certificates in connection with all orders when Federal excise tax would otherwise be due.
Vendors should always state the number of “calendar days” required before delivery of a product can be made or they should indicate the specific date upon which delivery will be made. The time required for delivery may be one of the most important considerations in determining who shall be awarded the bid. In this connection successful bidders will be expected to deliver the materials and/or services they are providing within the specified time.
Bidders must insure that payment terms are specifically stated in the proposal. In a competitive market the offering of a discount for prompt payment is often a decisive factor as to whether a particular vendor is the low bidder. Cash discounts are always deducted from the base bid in determining the low bidder. The City interprets a percentage discount for payment “within 10 days” to mean that discount will be allowed if the material is accepted and paid within 10 days after receipt of both the products and the vendor’s invoice.
All bids are to be quoted F.O.B. Wilson with delivery as specified in the Invitation to Bid. Any variations from this requirement must be clearly covered in the vendor’s written proposal. Freight charges may be shown as a separate item but the title to material equipment will not pass to the City of Wilson until receipt and inspection of materials/equipment being purchased.
All shipments to the City of Wilson must be made to “Central Warehouse” or to locations shown on the purchase order. Deliveries may be required to be made to different departments and divisions located in various parts of the City. The purchase order number must appear on the shipping or delivery ticket. Failure to meet specified delivery schedules may result in cancellations of the order or being removed from Bidders’ List for failure to perform.
Vendors who are successful in obtaining bids and in sales to the City will add North Carolina Sales Tax when billing the City for goods sold.
Vendors should always examine the Invitation to Bid to determine whether they are required to submit samples with a bid. When samples are requested they will be held until after the award is made unless otherwise specified. If a vendor wishes to submit a sample of his product for trial and use, the product must be presented at no cost or obligation the City. This policy is also required on informal bids at times.
Submitting the Bid
All bids must be marked as indicated in the “Notice for Bids” and mailed or delivered to the Purchasing Manager, City of Wilson, P.O. Box 10, Wilson, North Carolina 27894, or personally to the Purchasing Office, at 1800 Herring Ave. They must be received in the office of the Purchasing Manager before the time stated for opening of the bids. Bids received after the designated time will be returned unopened and will not be considered.
All formal sealed-bids must be accompanied by a “bid deposit” in an amount equal to not less the five percent (5%) of the total amount of the bid as required by North Carolina law unless waived. This bid deposit may be in the form of cash, cashiers check, certified check or a bid bond by a North Carolina Licensed surety company. Personal and company checks are not acceptable.
The bid deposit is required to guarantee that the successful bidder will accept the order or contract when awarded to him. This deposit shall be retained if the successful bidder fails to execute a contract or accept a purchase order within 10 days after the award, or fails to give satisfactory surety as may be required. The deposit of the unsuccessful bidder will be returned promptly after award with an acknowledgment of receipt requested.
Performance bonds are required by North Carolina