Purchasing Code



The following is a representative of the County Purchasing Ordinance. It is for reference. Any errors discovered in the following is superseded by the ordinance filed with the Clerk, Board of Supervisors.



2.56.010 APPLICATION OF CHAPTER. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the County of Sacramento and to all "using agencies" as defined in this chapter. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.020 PURCHASING AGENT. Pursuant to Government Code Sections 25500 et seq. and Article IX, Section 45 of the Sacramento County Charter, there is hereby created in Sacramento County government the office of the purchasing agent. The purchasing agent shall be vested with such powers, duties and responsibilities as are prescribed by state law, the Sacramento County Charter, this chapter, and as otherwise defined by the County Executive, acting through the head of that department to which the purchasing agent and the functions of the office thereof are assigned. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.030 DEFINITIONS. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall be ascribed the following meanings:

"Using Agency"

shall mean any of the following entities which requests the services of the purchasing agent as provided in Section 2.56.070: any public district, created under the laws of the State; any municipal corporation whose territory lies in the County; or any board, commission, or joint powers agency to which the County or any such district is a party;

"Purchase" or "purchases"

shall mean any contractual arrangement or transaction involving payment:

  1. for the acquisition of title to personal property;
  2. for the use by rental, lease or otherwise of personal property;
  3. for the provision of services by independent contract or otherwise; or
  4. any combination of the foregoing;
"Personal property"

includes materials, supplies, machinery, furnishing equipment and any other tangible article required for the conduct of business of the County or using agency;


shall mean any labor of a specialized or short-term or intermittent nature required in the conduct of operations of the County or using agency which may lawfully be performed by contract with private parties, and which excludes:

  1. the work of constructing, altering or improving buildings, roads, sewer and drainage facilities and other public works; and
  2. any labor pursuant to any other contracting authority or limitation;


shall mean an unforeseen circumstance in which an immediate purchase is necessary in order to avoid a substantial hazard to life, health, or property or a serious interruption of the operation of a department of the County or the operation of a using agency;

"Patented or proprietary items"

shall mean supplies, materials or equipment which are produced only by one manufacturer or are available from only one source; or services which are available from one provider thereof. (scc 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.040 AUTHORITY TO PURCHASE. Except as otherwise provided by law, the charter, or this code, all purchases shall be made in the name of the County by written contract approved by and executed in behalf of either the Board of Supervisors or the purchasing agent.

If an emergency occurs at times other than regular business hours and the services of the purchasing agent are not immediately available, emergency purchases may be made by department heads or employees authorized by them to make such purchases. Any such purchases shall be made by written contract in the name of the County and approved by and executed in behalf of the department head or authorized employee. Each such emergency purchase shall be reported in writing to the purchasing agent as soon as possible, but in no event later than ten calendar days following the date on which the purchase is made; and such report shall include a detailed explanation of the nature of the emergency, as well as the reasons necessitating the purchase. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.050 PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO REQUISITION. Authority to draw requisitions to the purchasing agent for purchases is vested in the heads of the offices, departments and institutions of the County. Such head may delegate his authority to any of his deputies, officers or employees by filing written authorization with the purchasing agent. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.060 PURCHASING PROCEDURES. The purchasing agent shall establish methods and procedures for the functioning of the purchasing department.

  1. Manual -- The purchasing agent shall prepare a purchasing procedure manual which sets forth the rules and regulations for the administration of this chapter. Upon approval by the County Executive, by and through the head of the department to which the purchasing agent and the functions of the office thereof are assigned, the rules and regulations contained in the manual shall have the same force and effect as the provisions of this chapter, provided however, that such manual and any amendment thereto shall not be effective, absent an emergency requiring immediate effect, until thirty (30) days following filing with the Clerk of the Board.

    The purchasing procedure manual shall include such rules and regulations as are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the following:

    1. Procedures under which purchases without competitive bidding will be approved and authorized;
    2. Procedures for the identification and approval without competitive bidding of purchases of patented or proprietary items;
    3. Procedures for the competitive bidding of personal property obtainable in two or more equally satisfactory and competitive makes, brands or types;
    4. Procedures for the standardization of personal property common to the needs of and required by two or more County departments or using agencies;
    5. Procedures for the establishment and maintenance of lists of bidders, prequalified or otherwise; and
    6. Procedures for providing reasonable notice soliciting bid proposals.

    The manual shall be completed within a reasonable time following the approval of this ordinance. The completion date for the manual shall be set by the County Executive, acting through the head of the department to which the purchasing agent is assigned.

    All provisions of the manual shall be subject to modification by the Board of Supervisors through the adoption of a resolution. Any modification by the board shall take effect immediately.

  2. Forms -- The purchasing agent shall develop and maintain standard purchasing forms, conditions of invitation to bid, purchase orders, and purchase contracts, with approval as to form and legal sufficiency by the County Counsel. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.070 USING AGENCIES. The purchasing agent shall perform any or all of the services provided for in this chapter on behalf of using agencies, upon their request, and subject to the following provisions:

  1. A resolution which requests the purchasing agent to make purchases for or in behalf of the using agency shall be adopted by the governing body of the using agency and filed with the purchasing agent. The resolution shall:
    1. set forth competitive bidding limits, advertising requirements and any other restrictions or requirements specified by State law governing purchases by the using agency; and
    2. provide that for the period of participation the district:
      1. Shall make all purchases in its own name, for public use only;
      2. Shall be responsible for payment directly to the vendor and for tax liability, and will hold the County harmless there from;
      3. Does not have and will not have in force any other contract for like purchases; and
      4. Shall not have obtained and does not have under consideration written bids or quotations from other vendors for like purchases.
  2. Unless otherwise authorized by law, when making purchases in behalf of a using agency, the purchasing agent shall follow the limits and requirements set forth in State statutes, the Charter, and the resolution governing purchases by a particular using agency.
  3. The Board of Supervisors may, in its sole discretion, terminate such participation at any time after ten (10) days advance written notice mailed to the using agency.
  4. A charge may be made for the services performed. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.080 ENERGY CONSERVATION CONSIDERATIONS. Prior to the purchase of all new equipment, except in the case of an emergency, the purchasing agent or any other county officer or employee authorized to purchase such equipment shall evaluate and consider the energy consumption level and the anticipated operating costs over the useful life of the new equipment in addition to the initial cost of such equipment, whenever practical and feasible. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).



2.56.210 PURCHASES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY. The purchasing agent shall be authorized and is hereby required to make purchases of personal property for the County, County officers or departments, and using agencies. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.215 PURCHASES OF SERVICES. The purchasing agent is authorized to enter into agreements by which independent contractors provide services, with or without the furnishing of material, to the County, County officers or departments, and using agencies; provided, however, that the amount of any such contract shall not exceed the amount prescribed by Government Code Section 25502.5 or any other applicable statute now existing or hereinafter enacted.

Any contract which is known at the time of bidding to exceed pertinent statutory limitations shall be subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors. Any other contract for such services let by the purchasing agent shall contain a provision that such contract terminates upon the date of provision of services or personal property or incurring of expenses the cumulative total of which equals said statutorily prescribed amount. (SCC 0865 §1, 1992; SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.220 TERM OF CONTRACTS. The purchasing agent shall not, absent prior approval by the Board of Supervisors, let any contract for the rental or lease of personal property, or for the acquisition of services which exceeds a term of three years. No such contract shall exceed one year unless the purchasing agent finds, and such findings are recited in the body of the contract, that a term longer than one year is required in order to promote efficiency and economy, or for other reasons that a term of one year is otherwise impractical. The purchasing agent shall have the authority to extend the term of any authorized contract for no more than six months. If a contract term is extended pursuant to this Section, the purchasing agent shall have the authority to amend the agreement so as to increase the maximum compensation, provided that such increase does not exceed 10 percent of the maximum compensation set forth in the original contract. The purchasing agent shall annually report all contract extensions executed pursuant to this Section to the Board of Supervisors.

2.56.230 COMPETITIVE BIDDING REQUIRED. Except as authorized by Section 2.56.250, all purchases by the purchasing agent shall be made pursuant to competitive proposals, and shall be let to the party who makes the best proposal as defined in Section 2.56.240.

  1. The solicitation of bid proposals by newspaper publication shall not be required. The purchasing agent shall utilize such processes to advertise intended purchases as are reasonably calculated to provide adequate competition among vendors within the County, including, but not limited to, the direct solicitation of proposals from known vendors.
  2. The purchasing manual may contain procedures under which notice is given exclusively to prequalified vendors and identify other forms and procedures for the issuance of notice. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.240 AWARDS. Awards shall be determined by and be based upon the best proposal, which in the discretion of the purchasing agent is the proposal which most adequately meets the needs of the County, officer, department, or using agency at the lowest price.

  1. In determining the best proposal, in addition to price, the purchasing agent may consider the quality, availability and functional or other suitability of the personal property, or contractual services to the particular use intended. The purchasing agent may also consider other factors, including, but not limited to, the following: the ability, capacity and skill of the bidder to perform the contract or provide the service required; whether the bidder can perform the contract or provide the service promptly, or within the time specified, without delay or interference; the character, integrity, reputation, judgment, experience and efficiency of the bidder; the quality of performance of previous contracts or services; the previous and existing compliance by the bidder with laws and ordinances relating to the contract or service; the sufficiency of the financial resources and ability of the bidder to perform the contract or provide the service; the ability of the bidder to provide future maintenance and service for the use of the subject of the contract; the number and scope of conditions attached to the bid.
  2. With respect to acquisitions of title to personal property or the use of personal property by rental, lease or otherwise, the best proposal shall, as to products which equally satisfy intended uses, be the one submitted by a responsible bidder at the lowest price.
  3. When two or more proposals for the sale, rental, or lease of personal property are the same, the purchasing agent shall, pursuant to Section 83 of the Charter, give preference to the lowest responsible bidder within Sacramento County who offers to supply items raised, grown, manufactured, fabricated, processed or assembled in Sacramento County, if price, quality, service and other factors are equal.
  4. In order to encourage and enhance participation by small business enterprises in the County’s contracting activities, a two percent (2%) price preference shall be granted to formally certified micro-business enterprises as specified in the County of Sacramento’s Procurement Opportunities Program Policy adopted by resolution of the Board of Supervisors and as amended from time to time. (SCC 1227 § 1, 2002: SCC 1100 § 1, 1997; SCC 0937 § 1, 1993; SCC 594 § 2, 1984.)

2.56.250 EXCEPTION TO BIDDING. Purchases may, but need not be, let pursuant to competitive proposals under the following circumstances:

  1. When the aggregate or cumulative price to be paid under the purchase contract is one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or less, unless otherwise required by state law; or
  2. When a patented or proprietary item is being purchased; or
  3. In the event of an emergency; or
  4. When the following types of personal property or services are being acquired, obtained, rented or leased:
    1. advertising;
    2. books, recordings, motion picture films, subscriptions;
    3. election supplies;
    4. insurance;
    5. public utility services;
    6. travel services;
    7. property or services provided by or through other governmental agencies; or obtainable from suppliers which have in force a current contract with another governmental agency for the same item or service; or
    8. property or services the price of which is fixed by law; or
  5. When the purchasing agent determines that making of a purchase without competitive proposals is reasonably necessary for the conduct of County business. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.260 SPLITTING PROHIBITED. It is unlawful, for the purpose of evading the requirements of this Article, to split or separate into smaller units of purchase any purchase covered by this Article. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).



2.56.300 SURPLUS PROPERTY. The purchasing agent, or an authorized representative thereof, shall sell, lease, exchange, trade-in or otherwise dispose of unneeded or surplus personal property of the County or any using agency which has an estimated value of more than five hundred dollars ($500) to the highest responsible bidder in accordance with procedures set forth in State law and the Charter. Bids may be received in writing in the form of competitive proposals, by auction conducted by the purchasing agent or authorized representative thereof, or both. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).

2.56.310 PURCHASE PROHIBITED. No officer, agent or employee of the County assigned to the purchasing function or responsible for surplus property declarations shall either directly or indirectly submit a bid for or purchase unneeded surplus personal property. (SCC 594 §2, 1984).


Procurement Opportunities Program

2.56.410 PURPOSE.

  1. The Board of Supervisors finds and declares that the purpose of the Procurement Opportunities Program (“Program”) is to enhance economic growth in Sacramento County and its surrounding Regional Market Area by increasing the use of local and small business enterprises in the County’s procurement and contracting activities. The Program also provides contracting and procurement information or assistance to any business enterprise desiring to do business with the County of Sacramento. Through the Program, the County offers economic price preferences on supply and non-professional service contracts, issued through the Department of General Services, Contract and Purchasing Services Division. In order to be eligible for a Local Business Preference the bidder must be located within Sacramento County. In order to be eligible for the Small Business Preference, the bidder must be a certified micro-business enterprise located within the Sacramento Regional Market Area, and the lowest responsive bid must be less than $1,000,000.00.
  2. The Program provides information designed for any business enterprise wishing to gain knowledge about doing business with Sacramento County. This information focuses primarily on advertising contracting opportunities and addressing ways to overcome procedural barriers encountered in the procurement process. By providing this information to as many businesses as possible, it should increase the number of potential bidders and thus increase competition.
  3. The Program includes education and training for any interested business enterprise, as well as economic assistance for business enterprises that meet certain standards.


  1. “Certification” means that certain accreditation granted to a business enterprise that has formally met the size and ownership standards of the small business program pursuant to the State of California, the Office of Small Business (“OSB”), and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises Services for Small Business certification. The County will also accept certifications from any governmental agency that has a reciprocal agreement with the State of California OSB, such as the City of Sacramento.
  2. “Delegated Purchase Order (“DPO”) Program” means the purchasing program utilized by County Departments under the delegation of the County Purchasing Agent for goods and/or services in an amount not exceeding $5,000.
  3. “Fixed Office” means a physical office or workspace within the County, which is staffed and where business activities are conducted at least 20 hours per week by employees of the business seeking a local preference. A home office may qualify as a “Fixed Office” if the home office may be claimed as a business deduction on the business owner’s income tax return. None of the following constitutes a “Fixed Office” under this section: a post office box, a temporary location established only to oversee a specific project, or a moveable or mobile property such as a trailer, recreational vehicle, or tent.
  4. “Local Business Enterprise” means a business that meets all of the following criteria:
    A. The business maintains its Principal Place of Business within the geographic boundaries of the County of Sacramento.
    (a) Suppliers and professional truck drivers are not required to maintain their principal place of business within the County, but must maintain a Fixed Office within the County. Suppliers must also maintain a continuously stocked inventory within the County consistent with the type of goods for which the business is seeking a local preference. Professional truck drivers must also park their registered vehicles and trailers within the County when not under contract for use. The business may be required to submit to the County a copy of its rental or lease agreement evidencing its Fixed Office location.
    B. The business must provide 50 percent or more of the contracted product from its own local inventory.
    C. The business must possess a current County of Sacramento business license or a business license from a city within the County. If the business’s Fixed Office is located in a city that does not issue business licenses, the business must be current with the city’s business operations taxes or other business regulations.
    D. The business has been established and conducting business activities in the County for at least six months preceding the due date of the bid/proposal for which a local preference is being sought. The business may be required to submit to the County evidence of its business activities within the Sacramento area during the preceding six months.
    E. The business must have paid sales tax to either a city located within the County or to the County of Sacramento. The business may be required to submit to the County copies of its State of California Board of Equalization sales and use tax returns. 
  5. “Manufacturer” means a business that is primarily engaged in the chemical or mechanical transformation of raw materials or that processes substances into new products, as codified in Sections 2000 to 3999, inclusive, of the Standard Industrial Classification Manual published by the United States Office of Management and Budget, 1987 Edition. 
  6. “Micro-Business Enterprise” has the same meaning as in Section
    14837(d)(2) of the California Government Code, except that the business has its
    principal place of business located in the Sacramento Regional Market Area. 
  7. “Principal Place of Business” means the location where the business is headquartered and where the owner directs, controls, and coordinates the business’s activities on a regular basis. 
  8. “Sacramento Regional Market Area” is defined as Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. 
  9. “Self-declared certification” means a business that wishes to participate in the Procurement Opportunities Program, but has chosen to not formally certify that it meets the size and ownership standards of the small business program by becoming certified by with the State of California OSB or reciprocal agency, but instead self-declares that it meets the County’s definition of a small or micro-business. A self-declared small or micro-business cannot participate in the economic preference benefits provided for certified micro-businesses.
  10. “Small Business Enterprise” has the same meaning as in Section
    14837(d)(2) of the California Government Code, except that the business has its
    principal place of business located in the Sacramento Regional Market Area.
    SECTION 2. Section 2.56.430 of Chapter 2.56, Title 2, of the Sacramento County Code are amended to read as follows:


  1. For all invitations for bid, quotes, or proposals issued through the Department of General Services or the Delegated Purchase Order Program, one-third or more of the invitations shall be to certified or self-declared Small Business Enterprises when available. If staff is not able to find sufficient Small Business Enterprises to achieve the one-third standard, staff will search available vendor databases in an attempt to find additional Small Business Enterprises.
  2. Under the Delegated Purchase Order Program County departments are not required to solicit multiple quotes for purchases under five thousand dollars ($5,000) if the Delegated Purchase Order is issued to a certified Micro-Business Enterprise.
  1. The Procurement Opportunities Program shall provide economic assistance by offering preferences in procurement and contracting on contracts issued by the Department of General Services, Contract and Purchasing Services Division or through the Delegated Purchase Order Program. Preferences will not be applicable to procurement card transactions, contracts issued by County departments under their delegated contracting authority, or contracts that departments take directly to the Board of Supervisors for approval that are not executed by the Purchasing Agent. Contracts excluded from such preferences include construction contracts, professional service contracts, and architectural and engineering professional service contracts. The business may not submit a proposal made in the interest of or on behalf of another business to obtain the preference.
  2. Micro-Business Enterprises. The Procurement Opportunities Program shall provide for a two percent (2%) price or point preference to Small Business Enterprises that qualify as a certified Micro-Business Enterprise for supply and non-professional service contracts of less than $1,000,000 issued by the Department of General Services, Contract and Purchasing Services Division or through the Delegated Purchase Order program.
  3. Local Business Enterprises. The Procurement Opportunities Program shall provide for a five percent (5%) price or point preference to Local Business Enterprises on supply and non-professional service contracts of less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) issued by the Department of General Services, Contract and Purchasing Services Division or through the Delegated Purchase Order program to business enterprises located within Sacramento County. Where applicable, the two percent (2%) preference to Small certified Micro-Business Enterprises shall be combined with the five percent (5%) preference to Local Business Enterprises, for a total price preference of seven percent (7%). 
  4. This preference shall also be provided to Sacramento Regional Market Area businesses that meet the criteria of a Local Business Enterprise for the county in which they are located, provided that:
    (a) Those criteria are at least as stringent as section 2.56.420(d); and
    (b) The county in which such businesses are located also provides pricing preferences to businesses located within Sacramento County.


The example below demonstrates the method used to determine the successful bidder on supply and non-professional service contracts of less than one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) issued by the Department of General Services, Contract and Purchasing Services Division. For request for proposals (RFP) where pricing is not the key deciding factor in selecting the awarding vendor, applicable preferences are applied to the pricing portion of the evaluation criteria.

Bidders2% Small5% LocalBid AmountAdjusted Amount
Bidder A (Formally certified micro-business – Sacramento County) YesYes$22,179 $20,626
Bidder B (Formally certified micro-business - Davis) YesNo$21,983 $21,543
Bidder C (Uncertified business, large or small, self-declared small or micro-business - Davis) NoNo$21,400 $21,400
Bidder D (Uncertified business, large or small, self-declared small or micro-business - Sacramento County) NoYes$22,000$20,900

In this example:

  • Bidder A is a formally certified Micro-Business Enterprise located within Sacramento County and is eligible for both the two percent  Micro-Business and five percent Local Business Enterprise price preference.
  • Bidder B is a formally certified Micro-Business Enterprise located within the Sacramento Regional Market Area (but not in Sacramento County) and is eligible for the two percent Micro-Business Enterprise price preference.
  • Bidder C, an uncertified business enterprise or self-declared small or  Micro-Business Enterprise, located within the Sacramento Regional Market Area (but not in Sacramento County) is the lowest responsive bidder.
  • Bidder D, an uncertified business enterprise or self-declared small or  Micro-Business Enterprise located within Sacramento County is eligible for the five percent Local Business Enterprise preference.

The preference is calculated as follows:


Bid Amount = (Bid Amount – Combined Preference Percentages); (5% for Local Business Enterprise; 2% for certified Micro-Business Enterprise within the Sacramento Regional Market Area).

  • Bidder A: $22,179 - $1,552.23 (7% of $22,179) = $20,626.47. Bidder A, with the 2% Micro-Business Enterprise and 5% Local Business Enterprise preferences becomes the lowest responsive bidder, but the bid award amount is $22,179.
  • Bidder B: $21,983 - $439.66 (2% of $21,983) = $21,543.34.
  • Bidder C: $21,400. The amount is not adjusted since the vendor is ineligible for either preference.
  • Bidder D: $22,000 - $1,100 (5% of $22,000) = $20,900.

The combined Micro-Business Enterprise and Local Business Enterprise price or point preference (seven percent (7%)) is used as a calculation for determining the lowest bidder, and does not affect the actual amount paid to the vendor. In this example, the award would go to Bidder A (the formally certified Micro-Business Enterprise located in Sacramento) for $22,179. Although the “preference” applied to the winning bidder is $1,552.53, the net costs to the county in this example is $779 (the difference between Bidder A and Bidder C’s actual bids).

The preference amount is the additional amount the County is willing to pay to do business with certified Micro-Business Enterprises located in Sacramento County. Because the price preference is applicable to bids of less than $1,000,000, the Micro-Business Enterprise preference will not exceed $50,000 and the Local Business Enterprise preference will not exceed $20,000 on any one bid. When both preferences are applied, the total preference shall not exceed $50,000 per vendor on any single solicitation.