Sullivan surplus auction generates $75,000

J. H. Osborne • Jun 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County’s surplus property auction last weekend generated more than $75,000 in revenue, County Purchasing Agent Nelda Fleenor said Thursday.

“It was very successful,” Fleenor said. “It’s the highest amount of revenue we’ve ever had from a surplus sale.”

That last part, however, comes with a caveat: The county typically has a surplus property auction once each year — but this is the first such sale in more than two years.

“Last year we sent out the preliminary letter to all departments asking what items each would have to put in an auction,” Fleenor said. “And there just wasn’t enough response to go through with a sale at that point.”

And the inventory for the public auction last Saturday was heavy on heavy equipment, which helped drive up the county’s take for the day, Fleenor said.

The auction included more than 65 county-used vehicles, ranging from dump trucks to vans and from police cruisers to school buses.

Fleenor said the number of vehicles in the auction was probably twice the number in a more typical yearly sale.

A “work in progress” listing obtained by the Times-News from the county’s accounting department earlier this month showed Sullivan County’s various departments owned more than 630 vehicles.

Accounts and Budgets Director Larry Bailey said the list wasn’t an absolute count of county-owned vehicles, but was based in part on insurance records and initial lists from each department regarding items identified as surplus for the auction.

According to that list, the following county departments or fund accounts had at least the corresponding number of vehicles: Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, 198; School Department, 140; Sullivan County Highway Department, 136; Sanitation, 33; County Buildings, 21; Emergency Medical Services (EMS), 20; Property Assessor, 16; Health, eight; Planning and Zoning, six; Animal Shelter, five; County Park (Observation Knob Park), seven; Coroner, four; Emergency Management Agency (EMA), four; Juvenile Court, two; County Mayor, one (2007 Mercury Montego, original value $14,600).

The vehicles sold last weekend were among more than 700 items total that went on the auction block — ranging from office equipment to food service equipment to pianos to automotive supplies no longer needed for vocational classes.

Final bids ranged from $1 to $4,000, with only one item fetching the latter: a 1990 GMC dump truck.

Eight pianos, sold separately, brought winning bids ranging from $10 to $110. A portable restroom brought $550, while a portable sandbox drew a winning bid of $12.

Among big-ticket items were three dump trucks some county officials had wanted to give to the city of Siguatepeque, in the Central American nation of Honduras.

In total, the three trucks brought $5,200 at auction. Another auctioned item, similar in description to a fourth piece of county property some wanted to give to the city of Siguatepeque, sold for $6,500.

For accounting purposes, Fleenor’s office tallied the day’s sales by three categories — schools ($25,999), general fund ($25,028.50) and highway department ($24,065).

“It was definitely worth the effort we put in to it,” Fleenor said.

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