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e-Li: Electronic Library

County Purchasing Law of 1983

The County Purchasing Law of 1983, found in T.C.A. § 5-14-201 et seq., is commonly known as the “general law” on purchasing. This law governs purchases from the county general fund in those counties where purchasing is not governed by either a county or metropolitan government charter, a private act, or the County Financial Management System of 1981 or the County Purchasing Law of 1957. This act does not apply to purchases from county highway funds or from county education funds. 

Under T.C.A. 5-14-202, the act also does not apply to purchases from nonprofit corporations, such as Local Government Data Processing Corporation (now Local Government Corporation), whose purpose is to provide goods or services specifically to counties.

Competitive Bidding—Under T.C.A. § 5-14-204, public advertisement and competitive bidding is required for all purchases and lease-purchase agreements, except for the following:

  • Purchases costing less than $10,000;
  • Goods or services which may not be procured by competitive means because of a single source or because of a proprietary product;
  • Supplies, materials or equipment needed in an emergency situation, subject to reporting requirements of the county legislative body and the county mayor;
  • Leases or lease-purchase agreements requiring payments of less than $10,000 per year; and
  • Fuel and fuel products purchased in the open market by governmental bodies.

County legislative bodies may by resolution lower the dollar amount over which competitive bids are required, and may also adopt regulations providing procedures for implementing this act.

Purchasing Agent— There is no mention of a purchasing agent in the County Purchasing Law of 1983.