/I Cov ca*+ 'IOTA
To: Myron Gibbons
From: Brad Miller
Re: SWFWMD Hernando County-bid statutes
You inquired whether the SWFWMD may award a $1,900.00 contract
to Hernando County without advertising and accepting bids. Various
statutes require that public contracts may not be awarded except on
competitive bids. 26 Fla. Jur., Public Works and Contracts, 13.
F. S. 287.081 sets out the requirements for competitive bidding
where purchases in excess of $1,000.00 are made by state agencies.
F. S. 287.011 provides in part that:
"The word 'agency' shall mean and include all the various
state agencies, offices, departments, boards, commissions
In Opinion Number 062-16, handed down by the Attorney General
on January 24, 1962, he ruled that the SWFWMD is a public agency
within the Florida state and county officers and employees retire-
ment system so that its officers and employees are within the purview
of that retirement system.
It would likewise appear that the SWFWMD is a "state agency,"
within the purview of F. S. 287.081, which provides in part as
"(1) No purchase shall be made where the purchase
price thereof is in excess of one thousand dollars
unless made upon competitive bids received; and when
the purchase price is in excess of two thousand
dollars no purchase shall be made unless competitive
bids are received after advertising therefore in a
newspaper of general circulation at least once a
week for not less than two consecutive weeks prior
to the date on which the bids are received -."
Although Hernando County may not be an "agency" of the state
within the purview of F. S. 287.081, it is nevertheless a political
subdivision of the state. The county is one of the policital sub-
divisions of the state and a mere governmental agency through which
any of the functions and powers of the state are exercised. 8 Fla.
Jur., Counties, 5. Therefore,when the SWFWMD enters into an agree-
ment with Hernando County, one branch of the state government is
merely contracting with another. It is therefore difficult to see
the relevancy of competitive bidding statutes to such a transaction.
In 26 Fla. Jur., Public Works and Contracts, 14, the editors
"Statutes providing that contracts with public auth-
orities are to be let only after competitive bidding
are aimed at the protection of the public against
collusive contracts. They are designed to secure
fair competition on equal terms to all bidders, and
to remove the temptation for collusion and opportunity
for gain at public expense. They are intended to
close all avenues of favortism and fraud in its
various forms, to secure the best values at the
lowest possible expense, and to afford an equal
advantage to all desiring to do business with
the public authorities by providing an opportunity
for an exact comparison of bids. Such laws prevent
favoritism toward contractors by public officials.
They are aimed to secure the best improvement at
the lowest possible cost to the taxpayers, and to
prevent fraud, favoritism, and extravagance in
the expenditure of public funds."
Since the funds paid by the SWFWMD to Hernando County will
not pass outside the public domain, there is no opportunity for
collusion and for gain at public expense.