County Purchasing Policies
All purchases: All purchases of goods and services must
follow the bid requirements established by the Whatcom County Code. Purchases
may not be split to avoid bid requirements. All bid limits
expressed as dollar values include sales tax and freight.
less than $2,000: No formal bid procedures are required.
However, it is Whatcom County´s policy to purchase supplies,
equipment and services of the necessary quality at the lowest
between $2,000 and $10,000: At least three vendors shall
be contacted to determine the best source for the purchase.
Quotes can be obtained from interested vendors in writing
or verbally. All quotes shall be documented on the purchase
requisition (each quote including vendor name, vendor contact
name, date, and telephone number) and submitted to the Purchasing
Section of the Administrative Services Department (AS/Purchasing).
in excess of $10,000: Formal bid procedures, as outlined
in Section II. below, shall be performed. There are exceptions
to the formal bid process, which are:
- Declaration of an emergency by the County Executive.
- Repairs for less than $20,000 to essential equipment.
- Purchases from other governments.
- Purchase made upon the authority of another governments
bid award. To participate in another governments bid, and
interlocal agreement between the governments must be in
- Sole source provider. When only one source is available
to purchase a particular product or service, bidding procedures
are not necessary. This situation is rare. If an item or
service is clearly unique and another item or service cannot
be substituted, then the purchase may qualify for the sole
source exclusion. Requests for sole source purchases must
be submitted to AS/Purchasing for consideration.
services in excess of $10,000: A request for proposals
(RFP) or a request for statements of qualification (RFQ) will
be issued for all professional service contracts which exceed
$10,000. Professional services include, but are not limited
to, services from architects, engineers, attorneys, physicians,
trainers, planners and systems designers, and management,
financial or labor relations consultants. Exceptions to the
RFP process are:
- Emergencies declared by the County Executive.
- Acquisition of services from other public entities.
- When the County Council, upon the recommendation of the
County Executive, finds that a waiver of the bid requirement
will be in the best interest of Whatcom County.
services less than $10,000: Price quotes are not required
for professional service contracts for amounts less than $10,000.
for services or for technologically complex equipment:
The County may issue requests for proposals (RFP) or requests
for statements of qualification (RFQ) for services, or RFP's
for technologically complex equipment such as computers, software,
or telephone systems. Proposals submitted will not be public
information until after award to the successful proposer.
- Award to the low bidder: Any or all bids may be
rejected for good cause. If all bids are not rejected, the
award shall be to the lowest responsible bidder. In determining
which is the lowest responsible bidder, the county may take
into consideration the bidders responsiveness to the county's
requirements, the quality Public work: Public work is defined
in RCW 39.04.010. Any of the articles to be purchased or
leased, availability of parts and service, delivery time,
and the tax revenue the county would receive from purchasing
from a supplier located within its boundaries.
- Award to multiple bidders: The county may award
to multiple bidders for the same commodity or service when
the bid specifications provide for special circumstances
in the determination of which vendor is truly the lowest
price to the county. Special circumstances may include differences
in ability to deliver, delivery time, availability of material,
special loading or unloading conditions, total cost including
transport or labor if not included with bid item, performance
of the delivered material, location of the source, and proximity
to the delivery point.
- Award to the highest rated proposal: In the case
of RFP's or RFQ's for services, and RFP's for technologically
complex equipment, if all proposals are not rejected, the
award shall be to the highest rated proposal, taking into
account the selection criteria. construction or improvement
of real property or buildings paid for with public funds
is public work, and must comply with numerous special requirements
as specified in State and County law. For example, a bid
deposit and contractors bond is required, contractors must
be licensed, and prevailing wages must be paid. Call ADS/Purchasing
or a civil deputy prosecuting attorney for more detail if
necessary to determine whether or not a proposed project
is Public Work.