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Thread: Selling City Junk

  1. #1
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    Selling City Junk

    Does anyone's municipality sell old surplus junk; signs, benches, manholes, and especially, parking meters? I am particularly interested in how much parking meters are being sold for, and if you have found a market for them. I see Chicago sells theirs for $250.00. We were thinking a fraction of that; maybe $40.00.

    Also, where the funds were being used for. Our thought is to dedicate the funds to downtown beautification.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Mattoon recently replaced their street signs. They are selling the old ones through a local volunteer group and splitting the proceeds. The group is doing all the work of dimantling, organizing and actually selling the signs. It wouldn't be worth putting City staff on it.

  3. #3
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TOFB View post
    Does anyone's municipality sell old surplus junk; signs, benches, manholes, and especially, parking meters? I am particularly interested in how much parking meters are being sold for, and if you have found a market for them. I see Chicago sells theirs for $250.00. We were thinking a fraction of that; maybe $40.00.

    Also, where the funds were being used for. Our thought is to dedicate the funds to downtown beautification.

    Thanks.
    About once every two years we have a surplus sale. If you're going to do it, really do it, because it takes up staff time. Encourage all departments to participate, but remember, if it comes from an enterprise fund (water, sewer, etc.) the money must go back to that fund, at least in most states.

    Also, once the "master list" from all departments is made, have your City Council declare the items surplus. They can also dedicate the funds to a project.

    One last thing... Avoid having city employees there buying early. In most cases they can buy things, but the public will notice a city worker waiting to get a particular item... best to avoid that perception.

    Good luck!
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    The Finance Director doesn't see a problem. The beautification efforts would be around the City parking garages.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We have an annual city-wide yard sale, and the city participates with its surplus stuff. We even sell old police cars in the sale. As usual, follow Mastiff's advice. He's smart.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm.....

    Here we go.......

    Take excess junk to the open ROW in front of peoples homes that have current zoning violations.....stay with me on this one......first determine exactly where the ROW line is (many times it is well up into the front yard...), then dump a large load of trash/junk in the ROW for "temporary storage" until it can be transfered to a dump. Let that stuff sit there for weeks.....in an attempt to show the owner what its like to mess up the neighborhood.....make this a policy and see if they clean up their act.... You could also throw a sign over it and call it a yard sale, drawing peoples attention to it.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    You could always send stuff to people as a secretion santa gift.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    I had a lot of fun with surplusing things... a couple of years back they were on this kick that all departments need to surplus any thing that was not of any use so, i ignored it... then the person in charge came to my office and requested that surely the planning department had items that the did not need... and i was reminded that this needed to include any item of value. So i filled out surplus forms on a broken stapler and five ink pens that worked sometimes. I was never asked about surplus again.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    No experience with parking meters, but the last city I worked for put the proceeds into the reserve fund.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    I have seen it handled in various ways but the one that I thought was the best was when the City hired a professional auctioneer. A live auction was held. The funds went into the cash reserve. This City made quite a bit of money that way. Most of the time the bids came in higher than the "book value". The vehicles were usually sold as a fleet and primarily other cities bought them (small cities). The fleet was well maintained and was turned over at 50,000 miles or two years for the automobiles. The other vehicles had a longer life span. The office equipment was replaced on a standized basis. While the equipment was of no longer useful to that city, because of equipment replacement policies, they still had a use for some one.
    I have worked for smaller cities where we would buy through the State Municipal league adverisements, various vehicles and other equipment that we could not afford new.
    Even when I have worked for small cities, quite often we would end up selling to other smaller cities, always through ads and through a bidding process. I don't recall any of the sales allowing city employees early entry into the sales area. Really bad idea.
    While they can bid, I have seen city employees bids rejected as too low.
    When I have worked in the private sector, usually there is a roll out of replacement equipment including computers, printers, chairs, vehicles etc. The employees usually have first bid ( always a minimum bid) and then advertised in the local paper.
    "One persons junk is another's treasure."

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