U.S. Communities

 

U.S. Communities Frequently Asked Questions

What is U.S. Communities?

U.S. Communities is a nonprofit government purchasing cooperative...

U.S. Communities is a nonprofit government purchasing cooperative that reduces the cost of goods and services for participating agencies by aggregating their purchasing power nationwide. Lead public agencies competitively solicit contracts which U.S. Communities makes available to agencies and nonprofits nationwide.

 
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What are the advantages of participating in U.S. Communities?

All contracts are competitively solicited by a lead public agency...

  • All contracts are competitively solicited by a lead public agency
  • Best supplier overall government pricing
  • No user fees
  • The ONLY cooperative purchasing program founded by NACo, NLC, ASBO, and USCM
  • Sponsored by 90+ state and regional organizations. See which organizations.
  • Broad range of high quality products
  • Third party audits performed
  • Benchmarking analysis
  • Oversight by key public purchasing professionals
 
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Does U.S. Communities have professional public purchasing advisors?

Yes. The Advisory Board consists of public purchasing professionals...

Yes. The Advisory Board consists of public purchasing professionals that provides leadership and overall direction for U.S. Communities. View the list of Advisory Board members.

 
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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...

Yes, in most states. All U.S. Communities contracts have been competitively solicited by a lead public agency in accordance with their government purchasing rules and regulations. Each solicitation contains language that advises all suppliers that the 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 Authority". Although each government purchasing organization may have different purchasing procedures to follow, applying these competitive principles satisfies the competitive solicitation requirements of most state and local government agencies.

 
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What is a Joint Powers or Cooperative Procurement Authority?

State statutes generally allow a government agency to purchase from contracts competitively solicited by another government agency...

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 the 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.

 
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How can I obtain copies of the legal documentation associated with each competitively solicited contract?

The contract documents are available for download on each supplier page...

The contract documents including the Master Agreement, Amendments, Extension, RFP and Solicitation documents are available for download on each supplier page. View Product and Supplier pages.

 
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What does a public agency do to participate?

Registration is free and there are no restrictions on the amount...

Public agencies must register to participate. Registration is free and there are no restrictions on the amount or size of an order.

 
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How much does it cost to participate in U.S. Communities?

There are no costs or user fees...

There are no costs or user fees to the local agency to participate.

 
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How is U.S. Communities funded as a nonprofit?

Each contract supplier pays an administrative fee to participate in the program...

Each contract supplier pays a 1% - 2.5% administrative fee to participate in the program and such fees fund operating expenses and offset costs incurred by national and state sponsors.

 
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Can non-profit, educational organziations or other agencies use the program?

All non-profit organizations, public and private schools, universities and colleges can use the program...

Yes, in addition to villages, towns, cities, counties, special districts, states and federal agencies, all non-profit organizations, as well as public and private schools, universities and colleges can also utilize the program.

 
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If there is a performance problem with a supplier, what steps do I take to resolve the problem?

First speak to the supplier representative, but if this does not work...

First speak to the supplier representative, but if this does not work, contact a U.S. Communities Program Manager.

 
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If our agency wants to use the U.S. Communities contracts and buy from other contracts, is that permitted?

Yes, all contracts are non-exclusive...

Yes, all U.S. Communities contracts are non-exclusive. There are no restrictions on other purchases.

 
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How do I become an authorized supplier of U.S. Communities?

Companies interested in becoming suppliers in the U.S. Communities program should check the...

Companies interested in becoming suppliers under the U.S. Communities program should periodically check the U.S. Communities Current Solicitations page for postings. Interested companies may also wish to register directly with U.S. Communities Advisory Board Agencies to receive notices of solicitation.

For information on requirements for participation, please see the Supplier Commitments, Supplier Selection and  Become a Supplier pages.

 
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Does U.S. Communities offer solutions for green procurement?

U.S. Communities has a website that can help you Buy Green, with step by step guides...

Yes, U.S. Communities has a website that can help you Buy Green, with step by step guides and tips to implement a green government purchasing program. In addition, many of our suppliers have items designated to help you buy green

 
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