The Purchasing and Contracting Department is the office responsible for the acquisition of supplies, equipment, services and construction in support of the operations of the Columbus County Government. The Department is the entity within Columbus County Government authorized to issue Invitation for Bids (IFB), Request for Proposals (RFP), and Requests for Quotes (RFQ). The Department handles the release of purchase orders, develops specifications, develops term contracts and acquires supplies, equipment, and services. The Department also disposes of surplus property and equipment.
The Purchasing and Contracting Department is very conscious of its responsibility and accountability in the expenditure of public funds. Therefore, the Purchasing and Contracting Department maintains competitive bidding process in accordance with Federal, State Laws, and Columbus County Policies and Procedures. It is the Purchasing and Contracting Department policy to encourage the participation of qualified vendors in the bidding process.
The Purchasing and Contracting Department is committed to supporting delivery of services for the public by providing County Departments with quality supplies and services in a cost effective and timely manner. This support is accomplished in strict compliance with federal and state laws, local laws and regulations, internal policies, and professional purchasing principles.
The Purchasing and Contracting Department makes procurement and awards and/or recommends awards of contracts to the Columbus County Board of Commissioners for supplies, equipment, services, and construction through competitive sealed bidding as required by federal, state laws and local policies. The method utilized is advertised sealed bids, competitive sealed proposals, and informal bidding procedures. The method utilized is determined by the dollar amount of the purchase established by both federal and State Laws, and local policy.
THE COUNTY OF COLUMBUS IS NOT BOUND BY ANY COMMITMENT TO A VENDOR BY ANY DEPARTMENT HEAD OR ANY COUNTY EMPLOYEE OTHER THAN A PURCHASE ORDER OR PURCHASE ORDER NUMBER PROVIDED BY THE COUNTY.
Notice of formal solicitation for goods, services, and construction projects are advertised either in the local newspaper, The News Reporter, or on this webpage. Notices of request for quotations for informal purchases to be awarded by Purchasing and Contracting are posted on the bulletin board at the Purchasing and Contracting office and also on the Purchasing and Contracting Department website.
Bid solicitation documents advertised in the local newspaper of general circulation and request for quotations for informal purchases for goods, services, and construction are available for pickup by vendors in the Purchasing and Contracting Department without charge, unless otherwise specified in the solicitation. If after receiving a bid document, you decide not to bid on the item(s) and/or project, submission of a reason for not bidding would be appreciated. This may help the Purchasing and Contracting Department in improving the procurement system for vendors who participate in the bidding process.
Bidders must submit their bids in accordance with the submission information contained in the bid documents. Bids must be received at the location indicated in the bid document on or before the date and time specified by the bid document. Any bids received after the date, and time specified will not be accepted. Bids may be faxed directly to the Purchasing and Contracting Department, but only if the bid solicitation document specifically permits faxing of bids.
Any vendor who has the financial ability, experience, competence, and capability to satisfactorily perform the contract may bid.
All competitive formal sealed bids are publicly opened and read aloud in the designated location, on the date and time specified in the bid document. Bid results and bid documents are available for public inspection in the Purchasing and Contracting Department. Informal bid results will not be available until after the award.
The County solicits bids and makes awards to meet one-time purchases of goods, services, and construction needed by County agencies. The County also solicits bids and makes awards based on estimated requirements for goods and services needed by County Agencies. The County also solicits bids and makes awards based estimated requirements for goods and services needed by County agencies over typically a one-year period. Such awards based on estimated requirements result in the County establishing a price schedule listing the goods and services needed over the typical one year period.
As the item(s) of goods and services are needed during this period, the County agencies will request them and the Purchasing and Contracting Department will issue a purchase order for the goods and services required.
INTERNET SOLICITATION INFORMATION
The Purchasing and Contracting Department maintains a synopsis of competitive opportunities on the Internet. The synopsis gives a brief description of the work or commodity to be supplied; the bid, quote or proposal number, title and opening date, time and location of the opening; and where to obtain specifications.
A Pre-bid/pre-proposal conference may be held for some solicitations to familiarize the vendors with the requirements presented by the County’s specifications. Addenda may be issued to the bid base on the discussions that take place during the conference. Attendance at some pre-bid/pre-proposal conference may be mandatory and will preclude your firm from being qualified as responsible bidder if not attended. PAY ATTENTION TO THE SPECIFICATION AND ADVERTISEMENT. It is advisable for vendors to attend the pre-bid/pre-proposal conference whether mandatory or not, as this allows you the opportunity to question the requirements and hear, firsthand, other vendors’ questions and the answers to those questions.
ADDENDA TO SPECIFICATIONS
It may be necessary to issue an addendum to a specification. Addenda are provided to every vendor who received the specifications, and who have not asked to be removed from the solicitation list. They may be provided by mail, pickup, hand delivered, or faxed with original copy mailed if time dictates.
Provisions of the specifications usually require the vendor to be responsible for various lines of insurance coverage. Each solicitation will detail the required lines of coverage. Upon request or as outlined in the solicitation the vendor must provide the County with a Certificate of Insurance naming the County of Columbus as an additional insurer.
All bidders should examine the specifications closely to see if they are required to submit samples with the bid. Samples are required only when requested by Columbus County. When samples are required, they must be presented to Columbus County by the vendor without cost obligation. Columbus County will hold all samples until completion of the awarded contract and/or purchase order, after which samples may be picked up by the vendor.
REJECTION OF BIDS
The County of Columbus reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids, and to waive irregularities.
BID BONDS AND PERFORMANCE BONDS
Bid Bonds and Performance Bonds may be required for various solicitations. The specifications will detail the requirements.
SHIPPING POINT AND DELIVERIES
All Columbus County purchases are to be F.O.B. to the designated delivery point assigned on the purchase order. Exceptions will be prearranged and noted on the purchase order. The purchase order number should appear on the shipping or delivery ticket and on packages or containers delivered. Failure to meet the specified delivery date/schedule may result in slow payment processing.
Columbus County is exempt from the payment of all federal excise taxes. However, the County is required to pay North Carolina sales tax and should be shown separately on all invoices as a separate line item. All first time vendors must submit a vendor form prior to release of an order.
To expedite payment for goods or services rendered, the vendor should submit the original invoice showing the purchase order number to the “Ship and Bill To” address reflected on the purchase order. The purchase order or a purchase order number is supplied to the vendor. The purchase order establishes a relationship of full agreement between the seller and buyer.
DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS PROPERTY
Auctions of surplus County equipment and vehicles are normally held each year in the summer or fall depending on the volume or surplus property on hand. In addition, the Purchasing and Contracting Department maintains a listing of real property that the County may surplus. To receive information regarding upcoming auctions or real property, contact the Purchasing and Contracting Department by e-mail or contact the Purchasing Agent, at 111 Washington Street, Whiteville, North Carolina 28472, telephone 910-640-1868, Fax 910-640-2386.
MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE
The County of Columbus is committed to helping quality Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE) gain a fair position in the County’s economic mainstream through our purchasing programs.
PREQUALIFICATION OF CONTRACTORS
The Columbus County Board of Commissioners as authorized by N.C.G.S. 143-135.8 approved an ordinance to pre-qualify bidders on capital improvement projects. At this time, capital improvements is defined as any construction or repair project which cost $70,000.00 or above.