hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

December 6, 2012

Online auctions net city $120K since 2009

Old police cruisers, fire trucks among items sold in latest bidding

by Shawn Regan
Staff Writer

---- — The city’s latest sale of old police cruisers and other unwanted items online has netted almost $37,000, bringing total Internet sales since 2009 to $120,000, Mayor James Fiorentini said.

Haverhill has concluded its fourth GovDeals auction, disposing of 25 vehicles including retired police cars, fire trucks and SUVs. Six recycling containers were also sold. Since the first online auction in 2009, the city has sold 98 items, the mayor said.

There were 46,081 “hits” to the Web site in the latest auction, with 803 bids placed, he said. Winning bids came from 10 states, the farthest away Alabama.

Prior to 2009, the city made surplus vehicles available to the public by advertising them in newspapers and accepting paper bids, but that process yielded little interest among bidders and raised few little money, Fiorentini said.

Not only is there much greater interest online, but offers are usually much higher, the mayor said. Retired police cruisers typically generate the most interest from buyers, he said.

Initially, purchasing officials looked into other ways to sell surplus vehicles, including sending them to a live auction with auctioneers, but ended up recommending www.govdeals.com after speaking with officials in two other communities that had good luck with the site.

When an online auction ends, the buyer must pay a bidder’s premium. Then the auction site will transfer the profits from the sale to the city, minus a 7.5 percent fee, according to rules for the auctions. Profits go into the city’s general operating budget, the mayor said.

Online auction

Here is a look at the city’s latest online auction by the numbers:

Raised: $37,000

Web views: 46,081

Bids placed: 803

States with winning bids: 10

Largest haul of items by single bidder: 9

Total raised in four auctions since 2009: $120,000

The auction ended Nov. 28.