After a lengthy process the Franklin County Commission Tuesday approved a master list of approved vendors county departments may purchase products or services from.

The list is comprised of hundreds of businesses which were selected through a competitive bidding process and were found to be the most economically prudent for the county to use.

Purchasing Department manager Kathy Hardeman said the county will use the businesses on the list to purchase everything the county needs from paper clips to salt for the roads.

She added the list will be effective starting May 1 and will be in place until Dec. 31.

Later this year, in the fall, the entire bidding process will be done again to produce the list for 2018 vendors and the process will continue each year from now on.

With the vendor list in place, the process of making purchases and documenting them properly should make the entire process smoother and more transparent.

Past commission orders state each elected official and department head shall make reasonable efforts to compare the cost and service of supplies when deciding whether to purchase supplies from either the approved vendors list or utilize a state contract or a cooperative purchasing agreement.

The county does have a local preference for businesses that are located in Franklin County, but certain items are not available from local venders so bids can be accepted from elsewhere.

Also, multiple bids for the same products are accepted from similar companies in case items might be out of stock.