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The Library District shall encourage competitive bidding and new technologies in order to obtain the greatest response to requests for purchase, or requests for proposals.

In general, the District will informally bid from multiple suppliers for all purchases over $200. This may be obtained by comparison pricing through direct contact, advertisements, catalogs, or web pages.

Purchases with an anticipated bid amount of $5,000 or greater shall be listed for at least seven days on the District's web page. Where practical to elicit greater responses for bids, additional listings may be made on cooperating web pages or notices may be e-mailed to potential bidders.

Purchases with an anticipated bid amount of $25,000 or greater shall be advertised in at least one paper with broad general distribution within St. Charles County.

Where practical in order to obtain the best price, the District shall be allowed to enter into cooperative purchasing agreements with federal, state or local units of government, or not for profit corporations. Cooperative agreements may be entered into, or already negotiated contracts may be assumed. Existing bids may be renegotiated or extended if it is to the District's benefit.

The District shall build databases of known suppliers from phone book data, web pages or from data obtained from manufacturers or distributors, and may use this database to inform potential bidders for a particular product or service. Suppliers may request addition to these bid lists. Commercial bid services such as Dodge Reports may also be utilized to obtain the widest response from potential bidders.

Bids may be received by mail, e-mail, or fax. E-mail and fax submissions shall be sealed immediately upon receipt. No negotiation will be allowed as to bid amount after submission, unless such options are clearly spelled out in the bid document. Occasionally, bid documents may contain deducts for options which the vendor feels would provide a superior product for less cost. The District reserves the right to negotiate such changes with the submitting vendor, or other vendors if that would result in savings. The District reserves the right to utilize cooperative purchasing agreements or listed advertisements for purchases if that results in a lower cost, even if these sources do not respond to the District's bid notices.

The District hereby adopts a domestic content policy as specified in RSMo 34.353. If two identical products are presented at the same bid price, it shall be the District's policy to purchase the one with the greatest domestic content. It shall be the bidder's responsibility to certify the percentage of domestic content. For the purpose of this section, content from suppliers who are party to the North American Free Trade Act shall be considered domestic.

The District shall do everything in its power to encourage the submission of proposals from local vendors, including the notification of all listings within a particular category in the various St. Charles County yellow pages. The District has a responsibility to its residents, however, to insure that the maximum value is obtained for each public dollar spent. It is expected that local vendors who wish to do business with the District will offer the lowest possible quote for the item being purchased.

Although price shall normally be a major consideration in all purchases, the District reserves the right to take such factors as durability, timeliness, availability and operating cost into consideration when awarding a bid. Low bidders may be rejected where serious reservations about the quality or suitability of items or services exist. The District reserves the right to waive minor irregularities in submitted bids, or to waive normal bidding procedures in an emergency when it is in its best interest to do so.

The District reserves the right to secure products and services through a request for proposal when that is in the best interests of the District. Requests for proposal shall normally be limited to complex projects, especially those with multiple or unknown ways of accomplishing a certain objective. Requests for proposal may involve intellectual property or the quest for new ideas that do not lend themselves to traditional bidding. In general, the District shall advertise requests for proposals in the same manner as bids, however the District shall reserve more latitude in considering low price as the primary indicator of acceptance.

The branch or departmental manager must ordinarily approve purchases. Purchases of $500 or less may be made at the department level with no other approval. The exception is commodity items and supplies for which uniformity is crucial, or computer equipment which exists on a local or wide area network.

Details of purchasing may be undertaken by the Purchasing Specialist, or depending on workload, assigned to other employees. The Purchasing Specialist should always coordinate purchasing decisions, and shall maintain databases of potential vendors and bidding events, and shall perform other specific duties as specified in Policy #E032.550 Class. Spec.-Purchasing Specialist. The Purchasing Specialist shall approve all purchases over $500. This shall not apply to materials purchases or utility payments.

The Purchasing Specialist supervises and maintains purchase order control for non-library material related purchases, reporting the distribution of purchase orders to the Finance and Support Services Manager.

All purchases over $2500 must be reviewed and approved by the Library Director, Assistant Director or Finance and Support Services Manager, in addition to the Purchasing Specialist. All computer and related hardware and software purchases over $500 shall have the additional requirement of approval by the Information Technology Manager.

The release of Capital Projects funds shall require a motion of the Board of Trustees.

The Manager of Technical Operations shall review all library material purchases and verify invoices prior to payment. Library materials shall be centrally purchased in accordance with adopted materials selection policies. However, the Purchasing Specialist shall assist in the bidding of book jobbing and periodical services on a regular basis.

Where practical, utilities and telecommunications services shall be competitively bid. However regular payments for such utilities shall not require special management approval.

(Revised 12/10/97)