Frequently Asked Questions#
- What does the Purchasing Division purchase?
The Purchasing Division facilitates the procurement of goods and services for all City departments.
- Can City departments buy goods or services on their own without going through the Purchasing Division?
Yes, City departments are authorized to procure goods or services costing less than $7,500 without going through the Purchasing Division. However, this does not apply to the procurement of goods or services for which the City has on-call agreements in place.
NOTE: Purchases utilizing federal grant funding may have different dollar limits.
- What is the process for procuring goods or services?
The City of Fort Collins requires a formal competitive process for all purchases above $60,000. For most competitive solicitations the City will use either the Invitation to Bid (ITB) or Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Bids are awarded based on the lowest price from a responsive and responsible vendor. RFP awards use additional criteria leading to an award based on ‘best value’. Most ITB and RFP solicitations are posted on the web and if not available electronically the notice will state where the ITB or RFP package may be obtained. Between $7,500 and $60,000 a Request for Quote (RFQ) process may be completed and awarded based on the lowest price from a responsive and responsible vendor or based upon evaluation criteria noted in the RFQ document.
- How do I find out what goods or services are being bid by the City?
The City of Fort Collins utilizes the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System (RMEPS) to post Request for Proposal (RFP), RFQ and ITB opportunities. This system will provide Vendors with convenient online access to RFP and ITB information for the City of Fort Collins and more than 200 other local agencies throughout Colorado.
It's easy to participate in solicitations from both the City of Fort Collins and other participating agencies -- simply register online. To register, visit http://www.bidnetdirect.com/city-of-fort-collins, use the "Register" link and complete your registration. If you are currently registered as a vendor on this system with another participating local agency, there is no need to register again.
- What is the difference between an ITB, RFQ and RFP?
Invitation to Bids (ITB) are solicitations for goods or services which are awarded based solely on price, with the award going to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.
Request for Quotes (RFQ) may be sent direct to the Buyer or requestor, as designated on the RFQ document. Quotes are then evaluated either by low price or based on criteria listed in the quote document by a selection committee.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) process is more extensive than the ITB or RFQ process. Proposals are received as designated in the RFP document, but are not publicly opened. The proposals are then evaluated by a selection committee and rated using the criteria listed in the proposal package. Selection may be made from the written proposals submitted and/or interviews may be held. Award is made after contract negotiations with the highest ranked firm.
- How do I respond to an ITB or RFP solicitation?
Each ITB or RFP contains complete instructions for submission of the bid or RFP. Vendors are asked to complete all forms in their entirety and provide all requested information. All bids or RFPs should be clearly identified by bid number and bid title on the face of the envelope containing the bid. Failure to provide all of the requested information may result in Purchasing considering the bid or proposal non-responsive and non-responsible, and possibly result in the rejection of the bid or proposal.
- What are prebid/pre-proposal meetings for?
Prebid/pre-proposal meetings are a valuable opportunity for vendors to review with City personnel the requirements and specifications of a solicitation prior to the opening date. Site inspections of the work location may also be held during prebid/pre-proposal meetings.
- Do I have to attend prebid/pre-proposal meetings to be eligible to bid?
Attendance at prebid/pre-proposal meetings is typically optional, but strongly encouraged. Occasionally, a solicitation will have a mandatory prebid/pre-proposal meeting. In these instances, you must attend the mandatory prebid/pre-proposal in order to be eligible to bid.
- Are ITB/RFP opening dates and times firm?
Yes. All bids/proposals must be received by the Purchasing office prior to the opening date and time listed in the solicitation document. Bids/proposals received after the opening date and time will be rejected and not considered.
- Does the City have an Approved Vendor List?
Purchasing does not maintain an approved vendor list for solicitations. The City of Fort Collins welcomes bids and proposals from all vendors and strives to facilitate an open, competitive solicitation process. Vendors can register in the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System at http://www.bidnetdirect.com/colorado/city-of-fort-collins to receive notifications regarding City of Fort Collins solicitations. Please keep in mind that the City sometimes requires vendors to be prequalified or approved for specific items and that the City may make purchases under existing State and cooperative contracts. Contact the buyer responsible for the commodity your company provides to find out if there is a prequalification process for that commodity.
- How quickly does the City pay vendors?
Upon receipt of a correctly initiated payment request or invoice, the department receiving the product shall authorize payment. The project manager authorizes progress payments for construction projects. Generally, for goods or non-construction services, the City's payment terms are Net 30.
Vendors selected and awarded a contract by the City will be required to submit a W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification prior to contract award. Vendors are also encouraged to participate in the direct pay program by completing a Vendor Direct Deposit Authorization Form. Participating in the direct deposit program will ensure the timeliest payment by the City while supporting the City’s sustainability objectives. Both forms can be downloaded from the Purchasing Division website.
The City of Fort Collins is exempt from paying sales or use tax.
- Should invoices be sent to the Purchasing Division for payment?
No. All invoices should be sent to the City’s Accounts Payable Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or City of Fort Collins, Attn: Accounting Department, PO Box 2047, Fort Collins, CO 80522. Please also reference your Purchase Order number on the invoice, as this facilitates a quicker payment process.
- What is the City's policy on gratuities?
It is the policy of the City of Fort Collins that employees, officers or agents are prohibited from using her or his position with the City for private gain or to give preferential treatment to any person or entity. Employees must maintain impartiality at all times when conducting City business. Soliciting or accepting any gift, favor, kick-back or any items of monetary value which, in the judgment of a reasonably prudent person, would tend to impair or give the appearance of impairing the employee’s independence of judgment in the performance of her or his duties is prohibited. Any vendor knowing of this type of activity is encouraged to report in confidence to the Purchasing Agent, Director of Purchasing, Chief Financial Officer , City Attorney or City Manager.