What is U.S. Communities?
U.S. Communities is a nonprofit instrumentality of government that assists public agencies in reducing the cost of purchased goods through pooling the purchasing power of public agencies nationwide. This is accomplished through competitively solicited contracts for quality products through lead public agencies.
What are the advantages of participating in U.S. Communities?
-Competitively solicited contracts by a lead public agency
-Most favorable public agency pricing
-No cost to participate
-Nationally sponsored by leading associations and purchasing organizations
-Broad range of high quality products
-Aggregates purchasing power of public agencies nationwide
-Managed by public purchasing professionals
Can my public agency use the program without going out for solicitation?
Yes, in most states. All U.S. Communities contracts have been competitively solicited by a lead public agency in accordance with their public purchasing rules and regulations. Each solicitation contains language, which advises all suppliers the subsequent contract may be used by other government agencies throughout the United States. This language is based on the lead jurisdiction "Joint Powers Authority" or "Cooperative Procurement" program. Although each government may have different purchasing procedures to follow, applying these competitive principles satisfies the competitive solicitation requirements of most state and local government agencies.
What is a Joint Powers or Cooperative Procurement Authority?
State statutes and, if applicable, local ordinances generally allow one government agency to purchase from contracts competitively solicited by another government agency ("Lead Public Agency"). This, of course, would require the consent of all parties including the supplier, the Lead Public Agency, and government agency purchasing from the Lead Public Agency contract. U.S. Communities contracts are established to meet both the competitive solicitation and consent requirements. Generally, a public body may participate in, sponsor, conduct, or administer a cooperative procurement agreement with one or more other public bodies, or agencies of the United States, for the purpose of combining requirements to increase efficiency or reduce administrative expenses. In some states, this power is not passed on to localities.
What manufacturers are represented on the contract?
The awards for this contract were made to three (3) vendors: Herman Miller, Haworth, and Knoll.
Are there other discounts in addition to the pricing available?
Yes. Volume discounts are available based on large quantity orders. Please contact the vendor by phone, fax, or email for price quotes on large multiple orders of the same item or product.
Does U.S. Communities have professional public purchasing advisors?
Yes. The Advisory Board members consist of public purchasing professionals from:
City and County of Denver, CO
City of Houston, TX
City of Kansas City, MO
City of Los Angeles, CA
City of San Antonio, TX
City of Seattle, WA
Cobb County, GA
Denver Public Schools
Emory University, NE
Fairfax County, VA
Fresno Unified School District
Great Valley School District, PA
Harford County Public Schools, MD
Hennepin County, MN
Los Angeles County, CA
Maricopa County, AZ
Miami-Dade County/Public Health Trust, FL
North Carolina State University, NC
Salem-Keizer School District, OR
San Diego Unified School District, CA
School District of Hillsborough County, FL
What does a public agency do to participate?
Public agencies must register online at the U.S. Communities Web site to participate. There are no restrictions on the amount or size of a public agency order.
How much does it cost to participate in U.S. Communities?
There are no costs or fees to the local agency to participate.
How is U.S. Communities funded as a nonprofit instrumentality of government?
The suppliers pay a minimum 1% administrative fee to participate and this pays for operating expenses and offsets costs incurred by national and state sponsors.
Can agencies other than public agencies use the program?
Yes, 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies providing a service on behalf of a governmental entity can use the program in addition to counties, cities, special districts, schools, universities and colleges, towns, villages, and state agencies.
If there is a performance problem with a supplier, what step do I take to resolve the problem?
First speak to the supplier representative, but if this does not work, ask to speak to the U.S. Communities national account manager or contact U.S. Communities.
If our agency wants to use the U.S. Communities contracts and also buy from other contracts, is that permitted?
Yes, all U.S. Communities public agency contracts are non-exclusive.