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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Purchasing Guide

Reference Number: MTAS-1627
Reviewed Date: 12/21/2021

City officials must stay up to date on changes in legislation that affect buying policies. In order to improve the efficiency of the purchasing function, the state legislature amends purchasing laws from time to time.  Purchasing is a tricky area, and mistakes can be costly.

There are four primary forms of municipal government in Tennessee: mayor-aldermanic, commission-manager, modified city manager-council, and those created by private act charters or home rule charters. The general laws addressed in this section apply to all forms of municipal government unless there is a specific exclusion, but purchasing requirements regulating metropolitan governments are not covered. Sample ordinances, resolutions and forms are included.

Sample procedures included in this section are adaptable to any form of government. Good purchasing methods are important to make sure taxpayers know how their money is being spent, city workers are adequately protected from unwarranted criticism, and vendors have equal opportunity to solicit city business, all of which allow the municipality to make the best use of its funds.