Purchasing

Mission

Our mission is to procure goods and services to assist the City in maintaining and enhancing a vibrant and resilient community. 

Procurement in the City of Norfolk 

The City of Norfolk welcomes all vendors to participate in its procurement processes and compete for business opportunities available within the City:

The procurement processes in the City are enabled and governed by Chapter 33.1 of the City of Norfolk’s Code of Ordinances, available here.

The Office of the Purchasing Agent procures equipment, supplies, construction, services (including maintenance and repair of buildings) and software.

Major construction services are procured by the Department of Public Works and the Department of Utilities. 

How do you find out about business opportunities?

All procurement solicitations are posted on ProcureNow, City’s website and on State of Virginia’s eProcurement portal (eVA). Vendors may receive automated notices about solicitations by registering with each of the platforms. This will also allow vendors to identify the categories of goods and services they want to sell to the City.

  • Bids and proposals are accepted electronically through ProcureNow. No fees are required to respond to active solicitations.
  • Notices of non-competitive sole source and emergency purchases approved by the City are available on City’s website.

 What we buy? 

The City purchases a wide variety of goods and services ranging from art to zoo supplies and welcomes all vendors to participate in its procurement processes and compete for business opportunities.

  • The Office of the Purchasing Agent procures equipment, supplies, construction, services (including maintenance and repair of buildings) and software.
  • Certain construction services are also procured by the Department of Public Works and the Department of Utilities.
  • The Office of the Purchasing Agent procures equipment, supplies, construction, services (including maintenance and repair of buildings) and software.
  • The City buys all the items you would expect, such as computer hardware and software, construction services, consulting and professional services, furniture, industrial supplies, fire and police supplies, office supplies, personal protective equipment, uniforms, etc.
  • Some of the more unusual services/items we also buy:
  • Baseball umpires
  • Battleship repairs
  • Bomb detecting submarines
  • Car washing services
  • Crime scene cleanup services
  • Debris removal services
  • Food for zoo animals
  • Kayak ramps
  • Police dogs
  • Public art
  • Stagehands for City venues
  • Underground rovers

So, it’s likely we buy what you sell! 

Types of Purchases 

Depending on the value, type and complexity of the goods or services being procured, the City may use a variety of processes/methods to obtain the goods or services needed:

  • Direct Purchase – one quote up to $999, procured directly by the user department. For repetitive orders other procurement methods will be used (see below).
  • Request for Quotes (RFQ) – low bid award
    • $1,000-$14,999 - direct quotes from a minimum of 3 vendors
    • $15,000-$99,999 – RFQ solicitation issued on ProcureNow, City website and eVA
  • Informal Request for Proposal (IRFP) – competitive best value award, $99,999 and under, issued on ProcureNow, City website and eVA
  • Invitation for Bid (IFB) – competitive low-bid award, $100,000 and greater, issued on ProcureNow, City website and eVA
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) – competitive best value award, $100,000 and greater, issued on ProcureNow, City website and eVA
  • Joint/Cooperative Procurement – the City participates in or purchases from an appropriate competitively bid contract issued by another jurisdiction
  • Sole Source – direct award if there is only one practicable source available
  • Emergency Purchase – goods or services obtained with maximum feasible competition in situations of direct threat to people or property

Surplus Sales 

Sales of City surplus, supplies, software, equipment and vehicles are conducted by one of the following methods:

  • Internet auction through the Public Surplus website
  • On-site auction of vehicles and heavy equipment, publicized on the Division of Towing and Recovery website 

Virginia Sales Tax Exemption 

The City of Norfolk is exempt from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s sales taxes for the purchase of tangible goods. The City’s tax exemption information is available here.

Contracts and Purchase Orders

Only the City Manager and a handful of authorized City staff has the legal authority to sign purchase agreements on behalf of the City of Norfolk.

No purchase (with the exception of credit card and emergency purchases) is valid unless covered by a City Purchase Order. Vendors providing goods or services without such authorization do so at their own risk. The City is not liable for payment of any purchases made by its employees without an appropriate purchase authorization.

Economic Inclusiveness 

The City is always searching for ways to maximize value.  One of the values we hold most important is economic inclusion. The City encourages all vendors and especially small, women- and minority-owned (SWaM) and disadvantaged businesses to do business with the City. 

The City’s Department of Economic Development also assists businesses through training and mentoring. You can contact them directly through their website.

Vendor Contact with City Departments 

Vendors may visit the City departments without advance approval of the Office of the Purchasing Agent to make sales calls, drop off literature, or conduct demonstrations. Advance appointments should be made with the department to be visited.

Departments are restricted from contact with vendors while solicitations for the particular goods or services are active. At that time all communications must be conducted through the Office of the Purchasing Agent. 

Prohibition of Gifts 

Because public employees’ actions are subject to intense and constant scrutiny, acceptance of a gift from a vendor can be easily misconstrued. Therefore, the existing law prohibits the offering of gifts of more than a nominal value to City employees and City regulations prohibit their acceptance.

City employees are encouraged to decline any gift or gratuity offered by a vendor or business, even where acceptance of such gifts may be technically within the law, due to the perception of impropriety which can be as damaging to the image of the City and the employee as actual impropriety.