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(a) Conditions for use. Contracts must be awarded by competitive sealed bidding except as otherwise authorized in this Chapter or regulations. Competitive sealed bidding is initiated by issuing an invitation for bids.
(b) Invitation for bids. An invitation for bids must include specifications, evaluation criteria including the procedure for resolving tie bids, and all contractual provisions applicable to the procurement.
(c) Public notice. The Director must give public notice of an invitation for bids a reasonable time before the date set for the opening of bids.
(d) Bid opening. Bids must be opened publicly in the presence of one or more witnesses at the time and place designated in the invitation for bids. The amount of each bid, and other relevant information as may be specified by regulation, together with the name of each bidder, must be recorded. The record and each bid is open to public inspection.
(e) Bid acceptance and bid evaluation.
(1) Bids must be unconditionally accepted without alteration or correction, except as authorized by regulation.
(2) Bids must be evaluated based on the requirements set forth in the invitation for bids.
(A) An invitation for bids may include criteria to determine the acceptability of a bid such as inspection, testing, quality, workmanship, delivery, and suitability for a particular purpose. A bid that is not acceptable must not be considered for contract award.
(B) All criteria in the invitation for bids that affect the evaluation of the bid price must be objectively measurable, such as discounts, transportation costs, and total or life cycle costs.
(f) Correction or withdrawal of bids; cancellation of awards.
(1) Correction or withdrawal of inadvertently erroneous bids before or after award, or cancellation of awards or contracts based on bid mistakes, may be permitted under regulations. A decision to permit the correction or withdrawal of a bid, or to cancel a contract award based on a bid mistake, must be supported by a written determination made under regulations.
(2) After bid opening changes in bid prices or other provisions of bids prejudicial to the interest of the County or fair competition must not be permitted.
(g) Award. The contract may be awarded to the responsible and responsive bidder who submits the lowest bid which meets the requirements and criteria set forth in the invitation for bids. In determining whether a bid is responsive, the Director may waive a minor informality if the Director determines that a waiver is in the best interests of the County. A minor informality means a requirement in a bid which is merely a matter of form or is an immaterial provision in the solicitation. The Director may determine the defect in the bid to be immaterial when the significance of the defect as to price, quantity, quality, or delivery is trivial or negligible when contrasted with the total cost or scope of the procurement. The decision of the Director with respect to whether a requirement is a minor informality is final and may not be challenged by a bidder.
(h) Multiple awards. Multiple awards may be made under a single invitation for bids if the invitation for bids provides for multiple awards.
(i) Tie Bids. If the Director makes an award, the Director must award a contract to the County-based bidder when there is a tie bid between a County-based bidder and a non County-based bidder.
(j) Reciprocal preference for County-based bidder.
(1) In making an award under this Section, the Director must give a preference to a responsible and responsive County-based bidder if:
(A) a non County-based bidder is the lowest responsible and responsive bidder;
(B) the non County-based bidder has its principal place of business in a state or political subdivision that gives a preference to its residents; and
(C) a preference does not conflict with a federal law or a grant affecting the purchase or contract.
(2) A preference given under this subsection must be identical to the preference that the other state or political subdivision gives to its residents.
(3) A preference must not be given under this subsection if it would result in an award to a County-based bidder when:
(A) a non County-based bidder has submitted a lower responsible and responsive bid than any County-based bidder before the application of any reciprocal preference; and
(B) the non-County-based bidder has its principal place of business in a state or political subdivision that does not give a preference to its resident. (1994 L.M.C., ch. 30, § 1; 2014 L.M.C., ch. 5, § 1; 2015 L.M.C., ch. 21, § 1.)
Editor’s note—See County Attorney Opinion dated 9/7/07 discussing methods of acquiring the construction of infrastructure for development districts. See County Attorney Opinion dated 3/22/04 indicating that a bridge contract under County law requires adequate competition and that a contract resulting from a federal GSA schedule usually does not satisfy the requirements. See County Attorney Opinion dated 4/13/99 (4/15/99 on cover memo) analyzing the Chief Administrative Officer’s authority to make a sole-source contract in excess of $25,000 without obtaining consent of the director of procurement or the contract review committee.