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Posted May 13, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Front Royal eyes Web for auctions

By Alex Bridges

Front Royal may join a growing number of communities that use Internet auction sites to sell used equipment.

The town held a successful public auction April 27 and made approximately $45,000 by selling off many of the items on the block, purchasing agent Cindy Hartman said Monday. The town sold items ranging from government motor vehicles to computer equipment. The town even had a popcorn maker for sale.

But Hartman said for much larger or specialized equipment that may not attract buyers from the local region, the town may find a market via the Internet.

"I wanted the capability of doing it," Hartman said. "It would expand our base of clients."

In order for her department to use Internet auction sites to dispose of items, Front Royal officials first must amend the town code. Town Council plans to hold a public hearing on June 10 on a proposal that would allow Front Royal to sell surplus materials and equipment at public auction and online.

Hartman said municipalities deal with websites such as www.govdeals.com and www.publicsurplus.com when selling used items. Front Royal would use sites geared more toward governments. The sites operate in a similar fashion as other online auction sites and would collect a fee from any items sold through the service before passing along the proceeds to the town, Hartman explained. However, Front Royal will not ship items, instead having the winning bidder pick up the item, Hartman said.

Such auctions would remain open to private citizens as well as other governments, Hartman said.

The town's recent auction proved a success, Hartman said, both in turnout and in proceeds received. Smaller turnout means less of a chance the price for an item to increase among the bidders. The town also set a reserve price on the vehicles and certain equipment. Bidders met and went beyond those prices.

Hartman said some of the computer equipment such as hard drives and monitors did not sell. This leaves the town the responsibility to find a place that either can dispose of or recycle the monitors and equipment.

After the town pays the professional auctioneer his fees, the remaining money goes to the general fund, Hartman said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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