Q Is a county E-911 system authorized to utilize an existing contract with a software provider as the Commission consolidates dispatch centers and expands the systems currently in place without undertaking the bid process outlined in Section 31-7-13?

A The commission is a “governing authority” under the public purchasing statutes. Computer and communications software is within the definition of “equipment.” As such the purchase of computer and communications software is subject to the competitive bid requirements, unless otherwise exempt. A possible exemption is Section 31-7-13(m) (vii) concerning single source items. The determination of single source items, i.e., noncompetitive items available from one source only, must be made by the Commission, consistent with fact, in accordance with the requirements and procedure set forth in Section 31-7-13(m) (vii). (Attorney General’s Opinion to Broom October 30, 2015)