Want a Fairfield police cruiser or backhoe? This is how you can buy one

The city of Fairfield has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars this decade by selling items on the government surplus auction site GovDeals.com, and officials hope thet revenue stream continues.

In the past eight years, the city has raised an average of more than $71,000 a year from sales on the site. In its next batch of items to be sold, Fairfield will auction vehicles, pieces of equipment such as a backhoe and bucket truck, and 29 radio chargers.

The city has raised more than $573,000 since 2011 over 171 auctions, and nearly half the city’s proceeds have come since 2016.

“It enables us to efficiently and effectively dispose of surplus property in a way where it’s available for reuse,” said Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling. “And at the same time, we get to recoup some of our initial investment.”

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This year, $60,560 has been collected, with more than $208,500 from 2016 to 2018, said Finance Director Scott Timmer. He anticipates another $75,000 in sales for the remainder of 2019.

“Most anything that is of value can be auctioned,” Timmer said. “Auctioned items are typically fleet-related because those items will net the city enough profit to make it worthwhile.”

City Council approved the most list of items to sell, including 12 vehicles, including police vehicles, seven pieces of equipment and 12 Motorola chargers from the fire department.

GovDeals.com has streamlined the process of unloading surplus items for local governments, Wendling said. Before GovDeals.com and other government auction sites, local governments would have to advertise a sale by taking out legal ads.

“It wouldn’t be as efficient, and I don’t think we would make as much money off of it,” Wendling said.

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While any private citizen can purchase the item, Wendling said it could provide a cash-strapped local government an opportunity to acquire specialized equipment.

Timmer said each auction item takes a minimum of three to four hours to place the item on the auction site. Those tasks range from taking pictures of each item, inspecting the item and listing all defects, making minor repairs (like replacing a dead vehicle battery), entering the items on the auction site, and meeting with eventual buyers.

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