Finance Frequently Asked Questions
What are the General Purchasing Policies?
The city is committed to the competitive bidding system to the maximum extent possible. The function of the Purchasing Division is to obtain supplies and services in the most cost effective manner and to ensure equitable access by and treatment of the business community in their commercial relations with the city.
Persons using this information are cautioned that the purpose of these general policies is to provide a quick overview of the key procedures and policies of the city and to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
The City of Fort Worth demands the highest ethical standards of conduct from its employees and from businesses dealing with the city. Certain kinds of conduct such as offering gifts, gratuities or discounts to city employees to influence their decisions in the purchasing process are expressly prohibited. Any person proposing to do business with the City of Fort Worth should carefully examine the ethics provision of the policy and ensure that at all times the standards are observed.
City policies also enable the city to debar and suspend a supplier on a variety of grounds. Persons doing business with the city are cautioned to inform themselves regarding these policies and should conduct themselves accordingly.
Who can do business with the city?
Any person, corporation or firm is eligible under most circumstances to do business with the City. Vendors are invited to register online to be included on the City's bidder's list.
How does the Purchasing Division solicit business?
There are three methods used, each with its own solicitation and award procedures.
An invitation to bid (ITB) is the usual method used when public competition is sought for requirements of more than $50,000. When this procedure is used, the contract award is based on the lowest evaluated, responsive and responsible bid or on best value evaluation factors. Any evaluation criteria that the city will use will be set out in the invitation. Bids that are unresponsive, ex., deviate substantially from the terms, conditions or specifications, or are from bidders that are not responsible (ex., not capable of performing the contract), will not be considered. Bids submitted are opened in public immediately after the time and date set for the final receipt of bids.
A request for proposals (RFP) is the usual method used for competitive purchases of more than $50,000 when an award based on price alone is not practicable or advantageous to the city. Proposals are evaluated and awarded on the basis of criteria such as diversity, performance, price, qualifications, and quality that are identified in the RFP. RFPs are not open to the public until after contract award.
A request for quotations (RFQ) will be used for purchases of less than $50,000 when an ITB or a RFP is not used. A RFQ is a more simplified process and may be oral, oral and confirmed in writing, or in writing as required by the Purchasing Division. Quotations are not opened in public.
Can city employees other than those in the Purchasing Division make purchases?
Where the purchase is less than $3,000 and is not otherwise restricted, when authority has been delegated to user departments by the Purchasing Division, or where the city has entered into a contract with a contractor or a vendor to supply a particular commodity or service. Although certain purchasing privileges may be delegated to other city employees, all purchases are subject to review and approval by the Purchasing Division prior to payment. Purchase orders, including purchase release orders under blanket purchase orders, or procurement credit card numbers must be provided to vendors at the time of order placement. Vendors are advised not to accept orders from city employees unless purchase order numbers or procurement credit card numbers are provided in order to ensure proper authorization to proceed.
Can the city purchase without competition?
The city may purchase without competition where a single source is justified. When there is an emergency condition as defined in Texas statutes, typically a threat to health and safety of residents, the city may purchase without competition or with such competition as is practicable in consideration of the circumstances and as allowed by state law.
How are potential bidders selected?
While the city endeavors to notify all eligible bidders on its lists with regard to purchases via ITB and RFP, the city does not accept responsibility for failing to notify a particular bidder. The responsibility for keeping informed of city solicitations rests solely on members of the business community. In order to assist in making this information available, any person may
- Call the Purchasing Division at 817-392-8360 for a summary of current solicitations
- Review bid notices and RFPs on the city website.
In addition, formal bids or RFPs exceeding $50,000 are published once a week for at least two consecutive weeks in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
RFQs will be sent to persons on the city's bidders lists. If it is impractical to notify all listed bidders, a short list of bidders will be determined by the Purchasing Division or user departments. Rotation of opportunity may be the method used in particular circumstances.
The Purchasing Division reserves the right to secure evidence to its satisfaction that any bidder possesses the necessary resources to perform the contract.
Is the time and date for receipt of bids ever changed?
Whenever circumstances make it necessary to do so, the date and time to submit bids, proposals or quotes may be changed. The change may be initiated by the Purchasing Division or may be requested by a person wishing to respond to a solicitation. Extensions are rarely granted less than 48 hours prior to the time and date set for final receipt of responses. All such changes are made by the City in writing to all persons shown as having been issued bid notices. Addendums changing the response deadlines are posted online for solicitations.
Can modifications, corrections or withdrawals be made to a bid, proposal or quotation?
Modifications or corrections may be made in writing and received by the Purchasing Division prior to the time and date set for final receipt of responses to solicitations. Bids may be withdrawn at any time in person or by written request. Proof of identification may be required.
When must bids be received?
To be considered, all bids, proposals and quotations must be received in the Purchasing Division prior to the time and date set for receipt, or any extension in writing by the Purchasing Division. Late submissions will not be accepted regardless of the reason. Late bids received by mail will be returned unopened.
The address of the Purchasing Division is:City of Fort Worth
200 Texas St., Lower Level
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Who may be present at a public bid opening?
Anyone may be present where submissions are to be opened in public.
Normally, public bid openings are held on Thursdays in the City's Council Chambers at 2 p.m.
Who awards city contracts?
Purchasing contracts valued less than or equal to $50,000 are awarded by the purchasing manager. Purchases or contracts greater $50,000, are awarded by the mayor and city council.
When does the city terminate a contract?
The city has the right to terminate a contract for any failure by the contractor to perform, or for any reason specified in the contract. Specific conditions of termination or cancellation are included in the solicitation documents.
Can a contractor be debarred or suspended from bidding?
If a contractor is dishonest, breaches a contract or fails to meet the ethical standards of city policy, the contractor may be suspended for one year or debarred indefinitely.
How can I find out about the results of current solicitations?
If a solicitation takes place by Invitation to Bid and the bids are to be opened in public, bid tabulations are available online.
If a solicitation takes place by RFP, the proposals are opened in public to announce the proposers' names only. The contents of proposals are kept confidential during the evaluation and negotiation processes. All proposals shall be open for public inspection after contract award, except for trade secrets and confidential information contained in the proposals and identified by the offers as such.
How does the City dispose of surplus?
The City disposes of surplus items by online surplus auctions.
Online Advertising and Bid Information Subscriptions
Interested vendors may receive automatic distribution of all notices of bids, proposals and quotations from the City of Fort Worth by registering as a potential vendor. Vendors may register online to receive these notices.