Section 14: Fixed Asset Procedures

A. General Information

The purpose of this document is to provide County department/offices with policies and guidelines regarding the tagging, inventory, and disposal of County controlled and fixed assets.


B. Introduction

Bexar County has thousands of controlled and fixed assets. These assets come in many varieties (i.e. vehicles, firearms, road equipment, computer systems, etc.). Assets are classified as either fixed assets (assets with a useful life greater than three years and a value greater than $5,000) or controlled assets (assets with a value greater than $500.00, but less than $5,000 are tagged and tracked), or High Risk Assets (assets that are sensitive in nature because of liability issues). Combined, they have value of millions of dollars. As public servants we are responsible for the care and custody of this large investment.

To maintain care of this multitude of assets is not an easy job. Accountability is not only our inherent duty as County employees; it is also required by statute. Each employee should demonstrate a personal commitment to protect and account for all equipment, regardless of its current use assignment.

The process of tagging and inventorying controlled and fixed assets is under the direction of the Purchasing Department. A full cooperative effort of all departments/offices allows the Purchasing Department to maintain inventory records. The Purchasing Department has a responsibility for the providing accurate inventory records for controlled and fixed assets and will perform the following duties in support of this responsibility:

Conduct periodic reviews of department/office to determine that controlled and fixed assets are recorded and reported.

Prepare inventory records of controlled and fixed assets for County departments/offices.

Maintain inventory records of controlled and fixed assets reported to the County Auditor’s Office and the Bexar County Purchasing Agent Board.

Tag a controlled and fixed asset as determined by this policy.

Input information into the inventory records regarding controlled and fixed assets as determined by this policy.

Transfer a controlled and fixed asset that is not needed or used by a County department/office.

Remove tags, dispose of controlled and fixed assets, and update inventory records upon approval by the Commissioners Court.

Provide a report to the County Auditor and the County Purchasing Agent Board an inventory of assets on July 1 of each year.


C. Authority

The Texas Local Government Code requires that the County Purchasing Agent perform several duties related to the acquisition, inventory, and disposal of County assets.


D. Inventory

On July 1 of each year, the County Purchasing Agent shall file with the County Auditor and the County Purchasing Agent Board an inventory of assets belonging to the County. The County Auditor shall carefully examine the inventory and make an accounting for the assets purchased or previously inventoried and not appearing in the inventory.


E. Transfer

To prevent unnecessary purchases, the County Purchasing Agent, with the approval of the Commissioners Court shall transfer County supplies, materials, and equipment from a subdivision, department, officer, or employee of the County that are not needed or used to another subdivision, department, officer, or employee requiring the supplies or materials or the use of the equipment. The County Purchasing Agent shall furnish to the County Auditor a list of transferred supplies, materials, and equipment.


F. Definition

Fixed assets are defined as items that possess all of the following characteristics: an original unit cost of $5,000 or more (including costs to install and implement the asset), physical substance, a life expectancy of more than three years, capable of repeated use, identifiable as an individual unit and accounted for separately (this criteria shall exclude construction and improvements to real property), not intended for resale within its expected useful life, not consumable (e.g. office supplies), and not repair or replacement parts of a larger asset. Bexar County also tracks and reports assets classified as “Controlled Assets”. Controlled Assets are those items with a purchase cost between $500 and $5,000. Additionally, the County tracks and reports other assets considered “High Risk Controlled Assets”. These assets generally have a purchase cost below or at those of Controlled Assets but are tagged and reported because of liability, insurance, licensing, or other factors.

  1. Fixed Asset - $5,000 and up; examples include:
    • Vehicle
    • Road maintenance equipment
    • Playground equipment
    • Forklift
  2. Controlled Asset - $500.00 up to $4,999.99; examples include:
    • Typewriter
    • Mower
    • Projector
    • Drill press
  3. High Risk Controlled Asset - $0 up to $4,999.99; examples include:
    • Weapon (tagged by proxy using serial number)
    • Communication radio
    • Camera
    • Television and/or VCR
    • Computer hardware, desktop computer, notebook, printer, scanner
  4. Low Risk Controlled Asset - $0 up to $4,999.99; examples include:
    • Desks
    • Credenzas
    • File Cabinets
    • Bookcases
    • Chairs
    • Tables

G. Department / Office Responsibilities

The following outlines the responsibilities of the department/office and the procedures to be followed.


H. Protection

All departments/offices are responsible for controlling and protecting the assets of the County that have been entrusted to them and each County employee has the duty to protect and conserve County assets. The negligent or willful loss or damage of County assets by an employee, including a department head, may be cause for disciplinary action consequences in accordance with the County’s policies. Additionally, specific policies regarding the use of technology equipment such as desktop computers, laptops, and cellular phones is provided by the Bexar County Information Services (BCIS) and are provided by Bexar County Administrative Policies 5.3, 5.4, and 5.6.


I. Representative Designation

The elected official and/or department head is to designate in writing those employees that will assist the Purchasing Department with implementing the provisions of this policy. It is recommended that designations are made for each location in order to facilitate the process of asset tagging, inventory, disposal, and other direct communications regarding assets for that department/office. The official or department head remains responsible for the controlled or fixed assets assigned to the department/office.


J. Receiving

Immediately upon receipt and acceptance of the asset, the department/office shall mark “received” on receiver copy of the purchase order. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


K. Special Acquisitions

Assets obtained by nontraditional means such as donations or leases or that are purchased with funds that are non-County funds through grants, interlocal agreements, or commissary funds or as result of forfeiture proceedings. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


L. Donations

Assets received via donation or contribution, regardless of source, must be evaluated with respect to inclusion in the inventory records. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


M. Funded with other entities (interlocal, grants, etc.)

Departments/offices accepting assets from other governmental entities via interlocal or grant agreements shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


N. Received Upon Completion of Third Party Contract

In case a third party (contractor), in performance of a contract with the County, purchases an asset and provides the asset to the County, transferring ownership to the County upon completion of the contract. The department/office shall coordinate with the Auditor’s Office and Purchasing Department to determine the value. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


O. Held in Trust (loaned to County by non-County entity (grant funded, state or federal)

Assets held by the County on behalf of a non-county entity and under the temporary control of the County are called assets in trust. This includes assets owned by the state of Texas or federal government that have been loaned to the County or assets purchased with federal or state grant funds in which the asset remains the property of the granting agency. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


P. Purchased with Discretionary Funds

Several elected and appointed officials have statutory authority over the expenditure of certain discretionary funds. Examples of these types of funds include commissary funds and federal and state forfeiture funds. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


Q. Software Tracking

Bexar County Purchasing Department does not inventory computer software as part of this policy. BCIS maintains licensing information pertaining to software purchases made through BCIS for departments/offices to ensure compliance with commercial license requirements as well as Bexar County software use policies. Departments/offices should contact BCIS regarding software license tracking.


R. Warranty

Warranty information is often delivered with the asset when it is received at the department/office and it is recommended that the department/office maintain the warranty information in department/office files. If equipment malfunctions and before any equipment repair is initiated, the department/office shall research their acquisition records and warranty files to determine whether the equipment is under warranty. If it is determined that the malfunctioning equipment is defective and needs to be returned, the department/office shall contact the Purchasing Department to reflect the return of the asset so that it no longer appears in the department/office inventory records. In addition, the department/office should contact the Purchasing Department when the replacement asset is received and accepted for tagging and reporting.


S. Trade-In

For assets that are used for trade-in, the department/office shall contact the Purchasing Department to coordinate and update the inventory records. It is crucial that this happen before the trade-in so that the inventory records may be adjusted and reconciled. The department/office shall provide the asset number, description, tag number, unit number, trade-in amount, and when the unit was transferred. Additionally, when the trade-in is for computer equipment, the department/office shall contact BCIS.

Advantages of a trade-in are reduced administrative overhead, storage, and handling costs for disposal of assets. It is very beneficial to the County that this portion of the purchasing process is utilized wherever practical. Departments/offices participating in this process shall assist in:
Identifying the asset scheduled for trade-in during the procurement process;

  • Securing the asset scheduled for trade-in; and
  • Making the asset available to contractor.

T. Damaged/Replaced

The department/office shall contact the Bexar County Risk Manager in the event an asset has been damaged to determine whether the asset qualifies for reimbursement under Bexar County’s self-insurance or conventional insurance programs. Additionally, claims may be filed for this purpose. The department/office shall provide a copy of the filed claim and information regarding the replacement asset or the damaged asset to the Purchasing Department Fixed Asset Specialist for tagging and reporting.


U. Vandalized

The department/office shall contact the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and file a report documenting the vandalized asset. The department/office shall send copies of the report to the Purchasing Department and County Auditor’s Office.


V. Stolen

The department/office shall report stolen assets from their department/office immediately to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and shall complete a Bexar County Missing or Stolen Asset Incident Report (Attachment 3). The department/office shall send a copy to the Purchasing Department and County Auditor’s Office. Generally, a replacement should not be requested until after 90 days to allow for asset recovery. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department if the asset is recovered so that the inventory records may be updated.


W. Missing

The department/office shall complete a Bexar County Missing or Stolen Asset Incident Report (Attachment 3) and send a copy to the Purchasing Department and the Auditor’s Office. Assets identified as missing shall not be removed from the inventory records until a thorough search is completed. The department/office is required to make a thorough and adequate search for the missing asset and document steps taken to locate the asset.


X. Cannibalization

When the asset is transferred for disposal, the department/office shall indicate in the remarks column of the Bexar County Inventory Form (Attachment 2) identify an asset that was cannibalized and the component(s) removed. This action will aid in determining the condition of the asset when it is sold at auction or in determining whether or not it can be removed from the inventory.

The Purchasing Department will update the inventory records to reflect the cannibalization identified on the Bexar County Inventory Form and if provided, shall document the asset that is to receive the cannibalized part(s).


Y. Vehicle Title and License

The County Fleet Maintenance accepts vehicles purchased by Bexar County. The original title for vehicles is retained by Fleet Maintenance. Fleet Maintenance prepares the forms required by the Vehicle and License section of the County Tax Assessor/Collector’s Office or other agencies, and applies for exempt license plates. Upon disposal of vehicles and titled equipment, the Fleet Maintenance representative signs the original titles. The department/office coordinates with Fleet Maintenance for the transfer of vehicles through the Purchasing Department as part of the disposal process.


Z. Reuse

Department/offices may request a transfer of surplus assets located in another department/office. Assets such as office furniture and equipment are occasionally available. Department/offices that are interested in leveraging budget funds by receiving existing assets from other departments/offices shall contact the Purchasing Department to inquire whether surplus assets are available and to coordinate transfer.


AA. Inventory Exercise

An inventory exercise is conducted at a minimum once each year. The Purchasing Department will send representatives to each department/office worksite and attempt to locate the assets, reconcile the findings to the inventory records for that department/office, and evaluate differences with the department/office. Each department/office shall designate an employee to assist with the process of determining the location of assets and providing information regarding asset additions, deletions, corrections, and/or additional comments. The department/office inventory records are reconciled and exceptions identified. A report is provided to the Bexar County Purchasing Agent Board and the County Auditor’s Office on July 1st each year.


AB. Disposal

By state law only the Purchasing Agent, upon approval of Commissioners Court can dispose of County assets subject to this policy. A department/office that no longer uses an asset because duties, workloads, or personnel changes have occurred, or the condition of an asset deteriorates and it becomes unusable, the department/office shall contact the Purchasing Department to coordinate the disposal of assets and/or furniture. In addition, the Purchasing Agent is responsible for identifying and disposing assets that are declared “surplus” or “salvage”. The Purchasing Department supervises a variety of actions including: competitive bid, trade-in, auction, donation, or recycling. The Purchasing Agent shall determine appropriate disposal method and take action based upon recommendation by the department/office and upon approval granted by the Commissioners Court.

To begin the process of disposal, the department/office requests a transfer of the asset out of the department/office inventory records with use of the Bexar County Inventory Form (Attachment 2). The department/office shall note the condition of the equipment (Good, Fair, Poor) and provide specific descriptive information in the “Remarks” column e.g. Typewriter, Electric - works but does not backspace properly.

Once the Inventory Form is completed, the next step is to contact the Purchasing Department. Assets are not transferred without a completed Inventory Form. The department/office shall not dispose of assets by other means. Large assets such as vehicles, road machinery, and furniture are to remain with the department/office until a disposition method is determined. Department/offices are asked to provide the Purchasing Department a plan for addressing the timelines and costs associated with the handling, moving, and storing of assets scheduled for disposal.

Generally computer hardware deemed as surplus under this policy is used as trade-in during the purchase process. BCIS shall notify the Purchasing Department upon removing computer hardware from service and provide the tag number, removal date, location, make and model.

In examining assets and/or furniture for disposal the Purchasing Agent shall use the following definitions:

Salvage asset - Asset, other than items routinely discarded as waste, that because of use, time, accident, or any other cause is so worn, damaged, or obsolete that it has no value for the purpose for which it was originally intended.

Surplus asset - Asset that:

(A) is not salvage asset or items routinely discarded as waste;
(B) is not currently needed by County;
(C) is not required for County’s foreseeable needs; and
(D) possesses some usefulness for the purpose for which it was intended.

In disposing of all assets the Purchasing Agent, with approval by Commissioners Court, may:

Sell the surplus or salvage asset by competitive bid or auction, except that competitive bidding or an auction is not necessary if the purchaser is another county or a political subdivision within the County;

Offer the asset as a trade-in during the purchase process;

Donate the asset to a civic or charitable organization located in the County; or

Order the asset to be destroyed or otherwise disposed if the Purchasing Agent undertakes to dispose of the asset and is unable to do so because no bids are received.


AC. Recording

There are two methods by which the Purchasing Department records assets:

  • entry of received assets purchased with a Purchase Order; or
  • entry of received assets resulting from forfeiture proceedings, use of commissary funds, discovery during audit, or donations to Bexar County.
  • Note: Anytime an asset is found that has not been tagged, the Purchasing Department should be notified to coordinate tagging and reporting.

AD. Tagging

Upon receiving notification from the department/office the Purchasing Department shall tag the asset. Additionally, anytime an asset is found that has not been properly tagged, the Purchasing Department should be notified to coordinate tagging and reporting.

All assets shall be identified with a “Tag” with an asset number assigned. It may be a sequential, consecutive number. Asset tagging is accomplished by the Purchasing Department or those designated by the Purchasing Agent. When an asset is purchased with a Purchase Order, the receipt copy of the Purchasing Order is forwarded to the department/office by the Purchasing Department.

Consistent tagging practices ensure efficiency during the tagging process as well as subsequent inventory. When practical, asset tags are placed adjacent to the equipment manufacturer’s I.D. plate. If there is not sufficient space or the surface is not appropriate, the tag may be placed away from heavy exposure, wear areas, or at a place which does not detract from the asset’s appearance. Additionally, the asset tag shall be affixed so that it can easily located without moving or dismantling and it can be easily located during inventory exercises. The department/office shall notify the Purchasing Department when an asset is received for tagging and reporting.


AE. Asset Tag

The Asset Tag is an adhesive label used to identify County assets. The types of tags are:

Bar Code Tag - Numerically controlled labels for controlled or fixed assets.

Computer Tag - Used for computers/peripheral and other technology equipment within communication closets throughout County buildings to include but, not limited to network routers and network switches. BCIS shall ensure tags are affixed to theses assets and provide the Purchasing Department a list that includes information regarding the tag number, location, and date received, and model number. Assets such as firearms are tagged by proxy referencing manufacturer’s serial number in lieu of a controlled/fixed asset tag.

Note: Anytime an asset is found that has not been tagged, the Purchasing Department should be notified to coordinate tagging and reporting.


AF. Recycling

Waste assets and some salvage assets may be of greater value to the County when sold for materials or scrap rather than being disposed of as waste. The Purchasing Department shall coordinate recycling of assets with departments/offices.


AG. Destruction

As per the Texas Local Government Code, the Commissioners Court may order the property to be destroyed as worthless if it cannot sell the property’. When this situation occurs, the Purchasing Department compiles a list of assets for destruction and presents the list to Commissioners Court for consideration and action. Generally, this action is taken upon extensive efforts to dispose of the assets by sale, donation, or recycling. Upon Court approval, the Purchasing Department shall coordinate with the department/office destroy and dispose of the asset. The Purchasing Department shall update the inventory records to reflect the removal and destruction.