OC’s Surplus Property Auction Questioned

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Mayor and Council agreed to post several town-owned assets on an Internet clearinghouse website, but not before a discussion over whether the website represented the best return in terms of value.

A couple times a year, the lists vehicles, heavy equipment and other assets on govdeals.com for auction to the highest bidder. Typically, the vehicles or other assets have reached the end of their useful life or have gone beyond the number of years or mileage spelled out in the town’s standards.

During Tuesday’s work session, the council had before it dozens of pieces of town-owned property slated to be placed on govdeals.com for disposal including numerous vehicles and other pieces of equipment. Included on the list was a motor coach essentially donated to the town years ago by the state that has been used for different tasks, from moving town personnel around to different events and transporting participants in various day camps and programs.

While approving property for disposal on the Internet site is typically a foregone conclusion, Councilman Dennis Dare on Monday questioned if the motor coach specifically should be included on the list.

“Does the motor coach have any grant restrictions on it?” he said. “We have used that to move people around for different things, like taking police officers to the driving range. We need to have that ability. I just wonder if keeping it is an option. If it needs a new transmission or something like that, it could cost more than it’s worth.”

Also included on the list were three Ford Crown Victoria police sedans which had reached their stated mileage thresholds. Earlier this summer, town officials began exploring a “Choose Your Ride” initiative with a vehicle painted as a police car on one end and a taxi on the other as a public service message about the dangers of drinking and driving. Dare on Monday questioned if one of the vehicles posted on the disposal list could be better served for that purpose.

“Could one of those vehicles be used for the ‘Choose Your Ride’ initiative?” he said. “I’m not sure we want to throw all of these things on govdeals.com tomorrow if we can use them in some way.”

Councilman Wayne Hartman questioned if the govdeals.com site was the best solution for disposing of town property.

“When govdeals.com first started, we got great returns,” he said. “Do we ever look back and make sure we’re doing the right thing? It seems like some of the bids recently have been very low.”

After some debate, the council voted to remove the motor coach from the list and approve the others for disposal on the Internet site.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.