Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) is a membership organization comprised of participating communities and counties in the Aroostook Washington Economic Development District. NMDC provides federal and state services at the regional and local levels.
NMDC will continue its efforts to expand, diversify, and attract business and industry in the region. The Commission also will continue its outreach to northern and eastern Maine communities and its efforts to work with those communities to create the capacity needed to support development.
NMDC’s mission is to create jobs, increase economic opportunities and drive growth to all communities, particularly those communities that are underserved and/or economically distressed. As a regional economic development organization, NMDC provides financing and counseling for small businesses, technical assistance to municipalities, conducts regional community economic development planning and support for industry sectors with high growth potential.
We envision a treasured place with a vibrant quality of life and a thriving economy.
NMDC maintains these designations to ensure Aroostook Washington counties are eligible to participate in the many federal and state programs designed to benefit the region’s businesses and communities.
Rural Empowerment Zone (US Department of Agriculture)
Economic Development District (US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration)
Regional Planning Commission (State of Maine)
Small Business Development Center (Maine SBDC and US Small Business Administration)
US Census Data Center Affiliate (US Census Bureau)
Intermediary Relender (Rural Development, US Small Business Administration, and FAME, Finance Authority of Maine)
Community Development Financial Institution (US Department of Treasury)
Microenterprise Development Organization (US Department of Agriculture)
Procurement Technical Assistance Center (US Department of Defense – Defense Logistics Agency)
The Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information should contact NMDC at (207) 498-8736.
To file a complaint of discrimination write NMDC, Executive Director, P.O. Box 779, Caribou, ME 04736-0779 or call (207) 498-8736.
NMDC is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Within NMDC, the responsibility for purchasing largely lies with Division Directors, while following the guidelines outlined in this manual. In addition, Division Directors may delegate purchasing authority or Authorization Request (Supplement S-2) preparation to responsible individuals on a case-by-case basis within their department as long as Administrative Office is aware. Items purchased by programs must be deemed as a necessity of the program, and be in a reasonable quantity. In an effort to minimize charges and conserve resources, multiple programs should split the cost of purchasing an item when it makes sense and is allowable to do so.
Authorization Request forms are required for all purchases greater than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or for out-of-state travel for conferences/trainings to be paid with NMDC funds. These forms originate as a requisition from the Division office responsible for the purchase, and must have the following information prior to purchase and payment being made:
- Date Issued
- Source of Funding – Project/Element Cost Code
- General Ledger Account Coding for Item(s)
- Pertinent Materials – What is Being Purchased and Additional Brochures/Flyers/Info
- Estimated Cost Breakdown
- Signature of Person Requesting
- Signature of Executive Director for Approval
The Division Director or their designee submitting the requisition is the person who has budget responsibility or is in control of the program/project that the purchase will be charged to. The Finance Director, Accountant or Executive Coordinator may work with the Executive Director on approving purchases to ensure that they are within budget, allowed by the program, and that there is not a cheaper method of acquisition. After approval, two (2) copies of the signed Authorization Request form are distributed, one attached to the invoice that is provided to the Administrative Office for payment, and the other to the employee requesting for their program records.
Purchases totaling over one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) require approval from the Executive Board. The Executive Board can also be sought for guidance and approval on purchases less than $100,000 by request or at discretion of the Executive Director.
In an effort to share common items such as office supplies, centralized purchasing is practiced as deemed appropriate by the Finance or Executive Director and allowable to program rules and regulations. Purchasing of office supplies goes through the Executive Coordinator, who has a knowledge of the current inventory and can reduce costs to programs be eliminating needless purchases when such items are already on hand but unknown to the individual requesting them to be purchased. Shared common item costs not directly charged to a program are distributed via NMDC’s Indirect Cost Rate Plan, which is covered in a separate section later in this manual.
For program-specific purchases, the Executive Coordinator should serve as the funnel for which all requests regarding prices and products are handled. The employee tasked with procuring the goods or service, Executive Coordinator, and if necessary the Executive Director will work in conjunction with one another and be included together on all correspondence so that the Executive Coordinator can maintain an accurate record. Ultimately, the Executive Director has approval powers over all program purchases and contractual commitments as defined in this practice and will work with the Finance Director on purchases where budgetary or other conditions may result in denial.
Purchasing records and files for purchases in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) shall include the following, at minimum:
- Written record of communications
- Basis for contractor selection
- Justification for lack of competition when competitive bids or offers are not obtained
- Basis for award cost/price
These purchasing records are vital for a number of reasons, with one key purpose being to prevent noncompliance with agency policy on purchasing decisions when more than one program or project is using the same vendor. At NDMC, the following four levels for purchasing decisions apply when quotes are being obtained:
- Purchase decisions exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) but less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) can be done by a designated employee calling a minimum of three vendors and providing all necessary information, then logging the vendor’s quoted price in writing. All materials, including vendor selected and reasons for selection, will accompany the signed Authorization Request with a copy provided to the vendor.
- Purchase decisions in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for labor, equipment, supplies, and services that are purchased, leased, or contracted for require, whenever possible, written quotations from at least two (2) vendors.
- Purchase decisions exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for labor, equipment, and supplies that are purchased leased, or contracted shall be made by obtaining competitive quotations from at least two (2) responsible vendors.
- Purchase decisions for services exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for services shall be made by obtaining competitive proposals from at least three (3) responsible vendors.
As multiple programs purchasing from a single vendor could total more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) in funds from NMDC being used, it is imperative that these incremental purchases are tracked so as not to exceed the minimum threshold. The one exception to these thresholds occurs when Sole Source vendor selection requirements are met, which is solicitation of a proposal from a single source, or after solicitation of more than one source, competition is determined inadequate to fulfill the requirements of NMDC. Should the Sole Source selection method be used, it must fulfill only one of the following criteria:
- The item is available from only one source
- Public emergency precludes delay
- The awarding agency authorizes the specific non-competitive procurement
- Competition is determined inadequate
- A cost analysis is required – this entails verification of the proposed cost data and evaluation of the specific elements of cost and profit, including comparison with the agency’s prior independent price estimate. Profit must be separately negotiated in the award, while cost plus a percentage of cost agreements are not allowed.
When the purchase threshold is expected to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) then a Request for Price Quotation (for labor, equipment, or supplies) or Request for Proposal (for services only) is to be issued, as noted under bullet points three and four of the purchasing decision levels on the preceeding page. These are to be completed by an employee of that program/project, or in the case of a facilities or administrative related need, a member of the Administrative Office. All Requests for Price Quotations or Proposals should be reviewed by a member of the Administrative Office staff with final review and authorization coming from the Executive Director or Executive Board, depending upon the anticipated cost or if the Board has asked to oversee this request.
Required components of a Request for Price Quotation or Proposal include:
- A clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the material, product, or service to be purchased. Such a description shall not contain features which unduly restrict competition. This should still include the range of acceptable characteristics or minimum acceptable standards. If there is a wide-range of work to be completed, a listing done in bullet format is preferred so the scope of work is clearly defined.
- Specified time period for work is outlined, along with required dates/schedules for delivery or performance.
- Criteria for vendor selection are outlined and detailed so that any potential vendor knows in advance of submitting their proposal what is being sought by the request.
- A date and time are set for when responses from potential vendors are due at NMDC.
- Description of the proper format or list of required materials that need to be included for a proposal to be considered valid are made available to all vendors. This includes letting all vendors know that bids are to be submitted sealed so no proposal can be seen as having an unfair advantage over another.
- Date, time and location that sealed proposals will be opened so that any vendors submitting quotations may attend their opening is included; an attendee will be asked to leave following the opening so discussion and a decision can be made by the designated staff
- Name and contact information (phone and fax number along with email) for the person overseeing the request
- Requests are to be placed online and in print media where it can easily be viewed by members of the public, with vendors required to reach out to the contact person for the information which will be provided as part of the ad in order to have materials sent to them for completion and submission.
As requests are received, the date and time of receipt should be written on each envelope. A list of quotations with vendor contact information needs to be maintained as well, so that after a decision has been made notification can go out to all vendors who submitted a bid that they have or have not been selected.
Vendor proposals are considered late if received after the due date and time specified in the solicitation. All late proposals will be marked “Late Proposal” on the outside of the envelope and retained, unopened, with the other bid materials. Vendors that submit late proposals will have it noted in their notification letter that their proposal was late and could not be considered for award. Solicitations should provide for sufficient time to permit the preparation and submission of offers before the specified due date. In the event a prospective vendor requests an extension to a due date specified, and the extension is both justifiable and compatible with the requirements of NMDC (such as pointing out a factor not considered by NMDC), then an extension may be granted that applies to all parties, who shall be notified in writing.
As noted earlier in this section, there are special conditions that exist which either go against and loosen the policies outlined or place additional restrictions on them. Single Sources (outlined earlier in this section) and Emergencies (anything endangering the health, welfare, or safety of organization staff or property) loosen restrictions and allow NMDC to solicit a vendor without considering other sources. Programs funded by Federal or State funds however, may place further restrictions on selection criteria, and are discussed separately in the section “Practices Associated with Federal Awards.”