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Empire State Purchasing Group

In an effort to improve efficiency, Chautauqua County will be using the Empire State Purchasing Group for soliciting bids from vendors effective July 17, 2014. This system will provide you with convenient online access to all bid information for Chautauqua County as well as 163 additional local agencies throughout New York.

It’s easy to participate in future bid opportunities from these agencies—simply register online. To register, visit the Empire State Bid System Website, use the “Vendor Registration” link and complete your registration. If you are currently registered as a vendor on this system with another local agency, you do not need to register again.

We look forward to providing you with more bid information, less paperwork and simplifying the processes for everyone involved. We thank you for your cooperation and welcome your participation!

If you need help registering, please call the support department at BidNet toll free 1-800-835-4603 or visit their website for more information.

We will still be advertising all bids in the local newspapers and assist you in any way possible. Thank you for all your years of valued participation in our bidding process.

Specific Purchasing Requirements

For information regarding specific county purchasing requirements or for a listing of Departmental contacts, phone the Chautauqua County Division of Purchasing at 716-661-8836.

Forms of Purchase / Payment

View the preferred methods of purchasing in the county:

VISA Purchasing / Travel Card

This is the preferred method of payment - used for procurement of supplies / equipment of less then $1,000 or travel. Use of this method expedites payment to vendor (Usually within 72 hours) and reduces paperwork.

Purchase Orders

Used whenever goods, supplies, or equipment in excess of $25 are being procured and VISA Purchasing Card is not applicable. Occasionally, the county may require the vendor's signature on purchase orders. Normally, however, purchase orders will be processed as internal documents without vendor certification.

Agreements of Service

When services are involved. Used when business can be succinctly described in a few short paragraphs or by attachment of contractor's itemized proposal. (Example: Equipment service contract with simple hourly rate and materials.) Must be signed by both county and vendor.

Formal Written Contract

When services are involved. Require detailed terms and drafting skills of an attorney.

(Example: professional services contracts, construction contracts, leases, property sales agreements, etc.) Prepared by the Chautauqua County Law Department. Must be signed by both vendor and county.


In cases of agreements of service or formal written contracts, a certificate of insurance with Chautauqua County named as additional insured is normally required prior to commencement of work. Sample insurance certificates and description of county's

Click here for standard insurance requirements.

Alternative Quotes

Unless otherwise provided by New York State Law, all purchases between $5000 and $20,000.00 require county departments to obtain at least three verbal quotations. Bidding is required for purchases exceeding $20,000.00 for commodities and $35,000.00 for services.

New York State Contracts

New York State allows counties and other municipalities to purchase from contracts awarded by the New York State Office of General Services without having to obtain alternative quotes or bidding.

Preferred Sources

State law requires municipalities to purchase certain goods from agencies for the blind or severely handicapped or from correctional institutions. These goods are not subject to competitive bidding or alternative quotation requirements.

Competitive Bidding

If countywide annual purchases of a particular item exceed $20,000, or a public work / service exceeds $35,000, competitive bidding is required by New York State. Advertisements for bidders must be placed in the official county newspapers, Jamestown Post Journal, and Dunkirk Evening Observer. Vendors wishing to participate will be sent a bid package containing instructions, specifications, and required affidavits. A sealed bidding process is utilized.

All bids must be received at the time and location specified in the bidding documents. The county reviews all bids to determine the lowest responsible bidder. In some instances, when the items being bid require a specialized skill or knowledge, the county will contract with a consultant to assist in this process. County bids are often extended to other in-county municipalities under the same terms and conditions.

Receipt of Goods

All items must be delivered weekdays, excluding holidays, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Unless otherwise so specified by the county department originating the order. Goods received will be verified against the purchase order for quantity and description. A packing slip must accompany shipment.


All invoices should be sent to the county department that originated the order. The county department will verify all documentation and forward it to the county Finance Department for audit and payment.


On-premises solicitation by vendors is prohibited. Contact with departments must be made by telephone to (716)661-8836 or mail. Vendors may service accounts or deliver goods to departments when requested.

Tax Exemption

Chautauqua County is exempt from all federal and state sales taxes.

Vendor Identification

All vendors must provide their Federal Tax Identification Number.

All new vendors are required to fill out and return a W-9 form (PDF), and a vendor payment form.