Frequently Asked Questions
1. When is a Purchase Order required?
- A Purchase Order is required when buying anything over $3,000.
2. Can I go directly to a vendor to purchase a needed item or service?
- If the item or service is under $3,000 you can go directly to a vendor. If the item or service is over $3,000 you are required to get 3 quotes and submit a requisition for a Purchase Order.
- Exception: Unless the item or service is on a governmental contract or cooperative.
3. When is a formal solicitation required for a project, item or service?
- Any project, item or service that is estimated over $50,000 is required to have a formal solicitation document with statutory advertising periods. The exceptions to this are items that are on another governmental contract (cooperative or State of Texas contract).
4. When is Council approval required?
- Per the City of New Braunfels Charter Article IX. Municipal Finance section 9.17…The City Manager shall have the authority to contract for expenditures without further approval of the City Council for all budgeted items not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). All items or services over $25,000 require City Council approval.
5. Is it appropriate for a vendor to demonstrate a product for staff?
- There are times when staff will require a vendor to demonstrate their product better understand staff needs. The guidelines for having a vendor demonstrate would be:
- Contact Purchasing – before setting up the demonstration. There may be more than one potential vendor for your item or product.
- Make sure the vendor knows their demonstration is for Information only. Any pricing received from the vendor is also information only. At no time should you make any commitment to purchase the item.
- Depending on the total price a formal solicitation may take place. In this instance a generalized scope of work would be required listing only salient characteristics, no specific reference to the demonstrated item or product.
6. What type of contracts does GC, Chapter 176 apply (Disclosure of certain relationship)?
- The law applies to all contracts for the sale or purchase of property, goods or services without qualification as to whether the contract is written, verbal or implied.
7. What persons or businesses doing business with the City are subject to Chapter 176?
- Any person who contracts or seeks to contract for the sale or purchase of property, goods or services with the City of New Braunfels.
8. What information must a person doing business or seeking to do business with the City disclose?
- Chapter 176 requires persons to whom it applies to disclose specified affiliations, business and financial relationships that such persons may have with covered City of New Braunfels officers. The Texas Ethics Commission For CIQ, Conflict of interest Questionnaire will need to be filled with the City no later than seven days after the date the person begins contract discussions or negotiations with the City or submits an application or response to a request for proposals or bids, correspondence, or another potential agreement with the City. The questionnaire can be downloaded at:
Standard Purchasing Terms that you may find helpful:
- Cooperative contract (Buyboard, Choice Partners, Sourcewell, OMNIA Partners, H-GAC, NPP, TX Smart Buy, TCPN) – agencies that the City of New Braunfels is a member of that have already competitively bid commodities/services that we can use without having to issue a formal solicitation.
- Sole source – a procurement method that can be used when there is only one vendor/supplier of a particular commodity or service or where there is inability to obtain competition.
- Requisition – a request entered into One Solution to have a purchase order created
- Purchase Order – a legal binding contract to pay a vendor for a service or commodity
Commonly used acronyms in Purchasing:
- IFB – Invitation for Bid – used for requesting definite commodities/services, cannot negotiate, award is based on the lowest responsible, responsive bidder
- RFQ (2 meanings) – Request for Quote – a informal method of gathering quotes
Request for Qualifications – used to obtain statements of the qualifications of potential development teams or individuals (i.e. consultants)
- RFP – Request for Proposal – used for requesting indefinite commodities/services, negotiable, award is based on evaluation criteria for scoring mainly used for technology other than construction
- CSP – Competitive Sealed Proposal – used for requesting indefinite commodities/services, negotiable, award is based on evaluation criteria for scoring mainly used for construction
- CMAR – Construction Manager at Risk