WELCOME TO THE PURCHASING DIVISION
We appreciate your interest in doing business with the City of Visalia. All of our vendors make a valuable contribution to the health, safety and welfare of our community and we appreciate the effort you make to provide the City of Visalia with quality products and services. We hope this guide will benefit you as a new or present supplier. Our aim is to help you in your sales effort and to promote a climate of good business relationships with the City of Visalia. This pamphlet will outline our purchasing policy and procedures. In the event you need more information, please feel free to contact us.
The Purchasing Division’s purpose is to maintain continuity of services and supplies to support the various City departments. The purpose of this guide is to explain how a vendor may participate in the City’s business. The City is always interested in securing responsible vendors who can supply its needs promptly, economically, and in the desired quality and quantities.
Procurement services for all of the City’s departments are centralized in the Purchasing Division under the direction of the Purchasing Agent.
SALES CALLS AND CONTACTS
Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. To conserve time and ensure you adequate attention, we urge you to make a definite appointment before coming to the Purchasing Division. Routine "courtesy" visits are not encouraged as they can disrupt the daily workflow.
Lists of interested and responsible vendors are maintained by the Purchasing Division. You may contact the Purchasing Office for a Vendor Application form to add your company to our list. Because of the number of supplies the Purchasing Division deals with, submitting a Vendor Application does not guarantee a vendor will be notified every time that a quotation or bid for that particular commodity or service is issued. Buyers may also contact firms that are not on the list of suppliers. In addition, failure to respond to one invitation to bid or quote may result in the removal of your firm’s name from the supplier list.
On June 21, 2010, Council directed staff to implement a local preference plan to encourage local businesses to provide goods and services to the City. Please click link for more information. Local Preference Plan Memo
Written specifications are used in the bidding process to describe the required level of quality, quantity, delivery and scope of work. In addition to the specifications, certain terms and conditions governing purchases are also outlined in the bid.
Sometimes a vendor may expend considerable time and money presenting a product to an individual City department in the hopes of making a sale. If you do this, remember that the purchase may eventually be made by competitive bid and what you spend for expensive designs, demonstrations and layouts does not guarantee you an order.
Specifications prepared by the City’s departments are carefully reviewed by Purchasing to eliminate undue restrictions and other limitations which unnecessarily reduce competition. The purchase will eventually be made from the lowest responsive, responsible vendor meeting the objective specifications. The help you offer a department in developing a purchase request cannot be considered when we make a purchase or award a contract.
METHODS OF PROCUREMENT
The following methods of purchasing are available:
PURCHASING CARD (P-CARD)
The City’s Purchasing Card is essentially a VISA charge card with greatly enhanced controls and data reporting capabilities that has enabled the City to streamline the traditional paper and labor intensive procurement process for small dollar purchases. It allows the City’s departments to purchase goods and services on an as-needed basis up to the delegated limit of $2,500 without obtaining specific Purchasing approval. A number of unique controls have been developed for the purchasing card program that do not exist within a traditional credit card environment. These controls ensure that the card can be used only for specific purchases and within the delegated purchasing limit of $2,500.
BLANKET PURCHASE ORDERS (BPO)
A BPO allows a vendor to sell goods to the City on an as-needed basis, up to the delegated limit of $2,500 without obtaining specific Purchasing approval. BPOs are placed with vendors for a specified period of time and only those employees whose names appear on the Employee Authorization list accompanying each BPO are authorized to purchase off of the BPO.
PURCHASES LESS THAN $25,000
Purchases falling between $2,500 and $25,000 qualify for the City’s informal procurement process. All requests for bids will be solicited by the Purchasing Division. Quotations may be submitted to the Purchasing Division via telephone, in person, by mail or by facsimile transmission. Specific submission requirements are stated in the bid documents.
PURCHASES $25,000 AND OVER
For purchases over $25,000, a formal bid process must be used. The City will use either a competitive sealed bid process or a competitive sealed proposal process. In either process, bids must be submitted in person or by mail. Formal bids may NOT be submitted via facsimile transmission or telephone.
The City will often enter into annual supply contracts with vendors for providing goods and services for a specified period of time, at specified prices. Annual contracts are generally the result of a formal bid process and, as such, departments are authorized to place orders for amounts above $2,500 without specific Purchasing authorization. Examples of annual contracts are those for office supplies, chemicals, janitorial supplies, etc.
ACTING WITHOUT A PURCHASE ORDER
All purchases charged to the City require a purchase order to be in place (BPO, Annual Contract, Purchase Order). If an individual calls you and attempts to place an order without a City Purchase Order number, you are cautioned to request an authorized Purchase Order number and to obtain the name and department of the individual. A Purchase Order number is vital to doing business with the City of Visalia. It is your insurance that you will be paid. In addition, $2,500 purchases may be made using a P-Card.