The Knox County Purchasing Division is responsible for maintaining centralized procurement, supply management, and the supervision of all central storerooms operated by Knox County. All supplies, equipment, and services for Knox County are acquired under the authority of this division. It is the goal of the Knox County Purchasing Division to buy quality equipment, supplies, and services at the lowest possible cost. Every purchase is made in the County's best interest while providing all vendors a fair and equal opportunity to do business with the County. The department is divided into four divisions:
- Supplier Diversity
- Property Management
- Mailroom Services
- Electronic Commerce Card Program
The Department of Finance - Purchasing Division is the sole agency vested with the responsibility for procurement of equipment, materials, and services for Knox County and its affiliated agencies.
Operating under a county ordinance titled the Knox County Procurement Code, this department is responsible for supply management, maintaining centralized procurement, and supervising all services purchased and/or leased for the County.
As identified in the Procurement Code, the Purchasing Division has responsibility to issue Purchasing Regulations for the guidance of all County operating entities subject to the Code.
Although elected and appointed department heads may employ requisitioning and receiving agents as they deem necessary for the efficient operation of their respective agencies or departments, purchasing oversight and direction are the responsibility of the County Mayor. Approval by the County Commission is required on all proposed contracts that exceed $100,000, and all modifications to existing contracts that increase expenditures by $10,000.
To ensure fiscal responsibility, prior to orders being placed with vendors, funds to cover proposed purchases must be reserved from the approved budget. This process, known as pre-encumbering, assures that ordering departments do not exceed spending and that funds are available to pay the vendor once the service/merchandise has been satisfactorily received.
To ensure fairness and competition among prospective vendors and to obtain the best quality at the lowest possible price to the County, the processes of competitive bidding and negotiation are employed.