New York State Local Technical Assistance Program

Does a municipality have to go to bid to purchase a used vehicle?

It depends upon the price and who owns the vehicle.

Antique highway  equipment

The surplus rules fall under General Municipal Law §103(6). The critical text is “surplus and second-hand supplies, material or equipment [to be] be purchased without competitive bidding from the federal government, the state of New York or from any other political subdivision, district or public benefit corporation.”


What are the dollar amounts for when sealed bids are required?
Quick Answer

From our new Running Your Highway Department workshop manual.


NYS General Municipal Law §103 requires competitive bidding for:

The local board may reduce this number, but cannot increase it. Be sure to check with the municipal attorney and the elected board to know the various limits. Remember that the competitive bid can be awarded to the lowest initial costs of the total costs or best value.

Exceptions to bidding

There are a large number of exceptions to the bidding limits that are available for a Highway Department. Here is a brief summary of the exceptions. For more details, review the Cornell Local Roads Program workbook Powers & Duties of Local Highway Officials.

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.