Q What are the purchase procedures for the weekly purchase of non-perishable food items for the regional jail, and is such a purchase permissible?

A There is no restriction, generally speaking, which would prohibit the county from making a weekly purchase of non-perishable food for the feeding of its prisoners provided that such weekly purchase does not exceed the budgeted amount for the regional jail as approved by the board. The county should take caution in making such purchases to avoid violating Section 31-7-13(o), which strictly prohibits the splitting of purchases in order to circumvent the bidding process. This issue involves the purchase of non-perishable foods for the feeding of county prisoners, so the exception found at Section 31-7-13(m) (vii) which provides an exemption from the bidding laws for perishable goods is not applicable. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Webb, April 21, 2017)