Effective yesterday, municipalities now may accept bids for the purchase of goods and services by electronic means. According to the Local Government Unit Electronic Biding Act, a “local government unit may permit the electronic submission of bids and may receive bids electronically if the local government unit has the electronic capability to maintain the confidentiality of the bid until the bid opening time.”
In addition, municipalities also may use electronic “reverse auction” procedures – like an eBay type of auction in which prospective bidders attempt to outbid each other for the lowest bid – as long as the municipality can assure confidentiality and can comply with other requirements regarding the process to be followed.
Solicitations for bids still must be advertised as before, but if the municipality wishes to accept electronic bids, the notice now must state that fact explicitly. No municipality is forced to accept electronic bids, but now it may be done if the municipality desires. If a municipality does desire to do so, such a scheme should be expressed by Resolution.
The new law is known as Act 88 of 2006 and applies to all local govenment units, counties, cities, boroughs, townships, school districts, vocational school districts, home rule municipalities, local authorities or any joint body made up of multiple local government units.