Auction surplus items online?

Instead of organizing an annual auction to sell surplus equipment, the city of Seymour is trying out a new method of ridding itself of unwanted items, and officials hope to make more cash in the process.

Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott recently asked the Board of Public Works and Safety for permission to post and sell items on, a public auction website that specializes in selling surplus from government and other public agencies.

Abbott said the site makes it easier to sell items, such as used police vehicles, because all the department has to do is take photos of the items and upload them instead of having a live auction.

Public Surplus will then send a check to the city monthly, he said.

“We have an auction every year in July, and a lot of work goes into it,” Abbott said. “Doing it this way, there is less administrative time spent on it.”

Abbott said there are a lot of agencies in the state that use the site.

“Allen County has had a lot of success with it,” he said. “I think it would be worthwhile to try it and see what happens.”

People have to register as buyers on the site and pay buyer’s fees if they “win” auctioned items. The service is free to sellers.

Buyers would have to visit the police department to present the required information to pick up items.

Since the site is accessible to people around the world, Abbott said there is a better chance of selling items than at a local live auction, and it increases the amount of money the item may bring in.

“I was looking on it a little while ago, and there was a 2003 four-wheeler from Arizona that doesn’t even run, and it’s almost up to $1,000,” he said. “We would struggle to get $250 for it here, based on what we’ve auctioned off in the past, whether it runs or not.”

The police department isn’t the only department that will use the site.

Last week, the board of works agreed to declare two work trucks — a 1992 and a 1994 — from the parks and recreation department as surplus and sell them on the Public Surplus website.