This article was featured in “The Daily Item” written by By Chris Stevens
Originally Published on Saturday, September 24, 2011By Chris Stevens / The Daily Item
LYNN – City Councilors Daniel Cahill and Brendan Crighton are exploring the idea of using the Internet to pedal public property.
The pair have sent a proposal to councilor Richard Colucci, chairman of the Public Property Committee, to sell public property via an online auction website, www.Municibid.com.
“This doesn’t cost the city a dime,” said Cahill. “We put it on the website, they market it.”
Cahill said he and Crighton had questions about how the city disposed of its public property, be it parcels of land or old cell phones, and they took their concerns to Colucci.
“He said to do some research and come up with a good and creative way to discard the property, so we did,” Cahill said.
The website, Cahill said, is the largest of its kind “and it’s definitely the most widely used.”
Nearly 42 communities across the commonwealth use the site, according to the Municibid brochure, including, locally, Marblehead, Salem, Chelsea, Reading, Stoneham, Haverhill and Boston.
The categories on the site range from automotive to sports equipment and kitchen equipment to electronics, jewelry, farm equipment and water/sewer. There is police and fire apparatus, heavy equipment, real estate, signs and parking meters. There is heavy equipment for sale in New Jersey, a Hobart potato peeler in Pennsylvania and more than a dozen small parcels of land in Haverhill.
“It’s like a giant yard sale,” Cahill quipped.
Cahill said the city could bundle items to sell together, such as office equipment or singularly. The city can set a base price and if it goes higher, it makes more money. If the bids come in lower, Cahill said it can reject the bid.
“We’d have the right to reject or accept any bid,” he explained. “It’s not like eBay where the top bidder wins.”
Municibid makes 8 percent on the deal, but it is added to the bidder’s cost Cahill said.
Not long ago, Cahill said the city had six Motorola phones it was not using. Generally, items such as that would be recycled into another department.
“If we can’t reuse them then we just get rid of them,” he said. “With this we could put them up online. Who knows, someone might be looking for Motorola phones.”
Cahill said the city also has a certain amount of real estate. Some of it is small parcels, some are landlocked and some are due to foreclosures.
“We don’t market it at all,” he said. “Some residents wouldn’t even know that a parcel of land right next to their house might be available. This would be a great way to put it out there.”