SNOW HILL – The County Commissioners voted this week to
take a new approach to the disposal of excess equipment, switching from a
traditional auction to the Internet.
Forty-seven vehicles and 13 pieces of equipment will be
offered for sale on GovDeals.com, an Internet auction service dealing
specifically in government surplus.
The auction site, like popular general merchandise auction
websites such as eBay, takes commission on sales, in this case 7.5 percent.
Items to be offered by Worcester County range from an old ambulance to a
The surplus property will be sold in batches of 10,
according to county staff. Buyers will be responsible for picking up their
Commissioner Bob Cowger disagreed with the move, saying
area residents like the traditional auction. Many do not have computers and
cannot be involved in an Internet sale, he said.
Also, he said, the county gets paid right away with the
traditional auction, while payment would be delayed with the online method.
Commissioner Judy Boggs said the vehicles, or other excess
equipment have to be stored until the traditional auction takes place. With the
new method, items can be sold quickly.
Commission President Jim Purnell agreed the local auction
was good for residents. He said he feared people with deep pockets could outbid
locals in an online auction.
Purnell reiterated that not everyone has a computer, while
Cowger contended that online bidders have to keep following the auction.
“Maybe we really need to publicize it so they can take
advantage of pieces they’re really interested in,” Boggs said.
The online auction will be advertised in local papers for
three weeks before the sale.
Gerry Mason, chief administrator of Worcester County, said
the sale method could be changed back to a traditional auction if the online
sale is not successful. Another option is to do both, he said.
county will look at the results once it’s done, said county spokesperson Kim
Moses, and determine whether to continue.