Sullivan County Director of Facilities Maintenance Joe Mike Akard auctions off county surplus property at Central High School Saturday. Photo by David Grace.
BLOUNTVILLE — Three county- owned dump trucks, described as “worthless” by Sullivan County officials who wanted to give them and other items to a city in Honduras, fetched more than $5,000 at a public auction Saturday.
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.
The money — like all that raised by the 700-plus-item auction — will go back into county coffers, likely to the highway department, County Purchasing Agent Nelda Fleenor said.
Earlier this year, some county commissioners proposed giving five pieces of equipment from the county highway department to the county’s “sister community” of Siguatepeque, a city in the Central American nation of Honduras.
That proposal failed, by a narrow margin, when it came for a full vote by the full commission last month.
Three items in Saturday’s surplus auction seemed to match descriptions and unit numbers of the equipment listed for proposed gifting to the foreign city.
• A 1986 Chevrolet C70 dump truck, unit #122, vehicle identification number (VIN) 1GBL7D1G4GV107789, was listed as item number 23 in the auction inventory. It sold for $2,200.
• A 1986 Chevrolet C70 dump truck, unit #125, VIN 1GBL7D1G2GV107791, was listed as item number 25 in the auction inventory. It sold for $1,600.
• A 1985 Chevrolet dump truck, unit #115, VIN 1GBL7D1G1FV109949, was listed as item number 11 in the auction inventory. It sold for $1,400.
As originally presented to the county commission, the proposal to give equipment to Sigautepeque also included another truck, and a 1992 DD-65 Ingersoll Rand Roller, unit #229.
The auction included an item similar to the latter of those two items: auction inventory item 808, a DD-65 Ingersoll Rand Roller bearing markings indicating it had been highway department property unit #207. It sold for $6,500.
Bidding for each of the four items mentioned above was competitive, with multiple bidders vying for each. And each of the items was purchased by different bidders — bidder registration numbers 20, 51, 121 and 213 — two with Blountville addresses, one from Church Hill and one from Chilhowie, Va.
Bidder registration lists are on file at Fleenor’s office at the historic Sullivan County Courthouse.
Several hundred people attended the auction, including some county commissioners and other officials. Bidder registration numbers topped 300.
A few minutes before the auction began at 10 a.m., in the front parking lot of Sullivan Central High School, Fleenor said she was pleased with the turnout.
“We’d like to get rid of this stuff,” Fleenor told the crowd as the auction got under way.
It was an “absolute” auction. That means there’s no minimum price for any item — high bidder wins, no matter how low the bid.
Among other items sold, and the winning bids:
• A 1973 Bendix Corsair travel camper, $650
• An air-conditioned portable restroom on wheels, $550.
• A 1978 Dodge van used by the county coroner, $400.
• A 1990 GMC dump truck, $4,000.
• A Yamaha golf cart, $200.
• A backhoe attachment, $1,600.
• A snow plow attachment, $25.
• A Chevrolet V6 engine, $15.
• And a 1995 Ford Crown Victoria, driven by former County Executive (the title is now county mayor) Gil Hodges from 1995 until 2001 and used by the county’s planning department in the years since, $550.