Online Auction Helps City’s Bottom Line
A ’60s-era Lamborghini confiscated from a Springfield drug dealer ended up in California thanks to a Web site, according to the Springfield News-Sun newspaper.
The city of Springfield auctioned the Italian sports car for $31,000 and a 1978 Porsche for $12,000 by using Govdeals.com, a Web site that sells government property. "It's a worldwide market," said Nicholas Drugmand, a city purchasing aide. "There's no limits on who can bid on it — the whole country, Canada, Mexico, whoever."
Drugmand started using online auctions to sell surplus property in late 2002 after his supervisor came across the site. Now the city plans to eliminate its large, annual public auction in Springfield and use only the Web site. Typically the annual auction is held in the fall and requires paying an auctioneer, overtime for city staff and hours of planning. City Treasurer Bob Mauch estimates the costs at $5,000 per in-town auction.
The surplus or confiscated items also must be stored until the auction, Drugmand said, and the pool of bidders is smaller. To prepare an item for an online auction, Drugmand has to photograph it, write a summary and post it, which he estimates takes about an hour. The inventory can be posted and sold as soon as it is available rather than stored until the fall auction.
The sales money goes back to the city department that offered the items. Govdeals.com keeps 7.5 percent of the sales, but Drugmand said they provide services for that fee, including marketing the items.