Rules of the Road
Function of Purchasing
The Purchasing Office performs a service function for all city departments and acts as a liaison between suppliers and the city. While we are the sole purchasing office for the city, we often work closely with various City departments in composing specifications and analyzing responses to solicitations.
All procurement actions are conducted in accordance with the Municipal Code of the City of Portsmouth and all other applicable regulations, whether state or federal. All formal solicitations are posted electronically by the Purchasing Office on DemandStar, eVirgina Marketplace, or on the City of Portsmouth websites. We will gladly furnish a copy of all solicitations to any interested vendors, which will include all information for submitting a response.
In some instances, it may be necessary to use trade names or model numbers to designate the quality of merchandise desired. In such cases, the phrase “or equal” will be specified. The decision of “equal” rests solely with the city. The burden of proving “equality” rests with the vendor. The completed forms should be signed and delivered to the city’s purchasing office prior to the designated opening time on the form. Solicitation response envelopes should indicate the solicitation number and opening date thereon.
If you have questions at any time during the procurement process, please consult with the Purchasing Office for clarification or answers.
In our day-to-day activities, we strive to promote good will and improve communication in community, supplier and employee relations and to uphold the highest standards of business ethics. You can be of invaluable service to us if you:
- Address and deliver all shipments as per the instructions on the purchase order or Contract
- Submit all invoices to the address specified by the appropriate section on the purchase order
- Provide feedback if you feel our specifications for a product or service can be improved to offer a better option or lower costs
- Ensure that the shipping label contains the city’s purchase order number
- Do not accept orders or make shipments until a purchase order number has been obtained from the city
Methods of Procurement
The city uses 5 methods of procurement when soliciting competition for goods and services, as follows:
- Small Purchases - This method is utilized when procuring goods and services with a cumulative dollar value of less than $100,000.
- Competitive Sealed Bidding - This is a formal process that is implemented for the procurement of good and/or services with a dollar value of $100,000.00 or more. Bids are solicited in writing and are sealed until the date specified. Bids are opened and read aloud in a public setting.
- Competitive Negotiations - This is a formal process, used for the procurement of professional or non-professional services, upon a written determination by the Purchasing Officer that competitive sealed bidding is neither practical nor fiscally advantageous. Proposals are solicited in writing and are sealed until the date specified. Proposals are opened at the specified date and time, and the evaluation process commences until a contract is awarded to the Successful Offeror or Offerors.
- Sole Source - This method is used “upon determination in writing by the Purchasing Officer that there is only one source practicably available for which that is to be procured.” After such determination, a contract may be negotiated and awarded to that source without competitive sealed bidding.
- Emergency Purchases - This method is during emergency situations in which the immediate public health, safety, or welfare is involved, or the purchase is required to protect or preserve public properties without delay. This method is only authorized by the Purchasing Officer.