Belen offers online auction for surplus items

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Residents no longer need to attend a live auction to bid on old, unused or surplus items the city of Belen is getting rid of.

Participants can view and bid on items from the comfort of their home through the internet auction company, Public Surplus.

This new service isn't just a benefit for bidders, it's also a plus for the city.

Online auctions reach larger audiences, are free for the city and require little to no manpower to conduct, said Lawrence Kaneshiro, the city's information technology director.

"Using the internet auction site is convenient and easy to use," Kaneshiro said. "Although there is a small charge to the buyer for using the site, there is absolutely no cost to the city. Given our economic situation today, I felt that teaming up with Public Surplus was the way to go to bring in some revenue."

Buyers pay a 10 percent premium for items listed on the site. Detailed instructions are listed on the website explaining how participants can set up a pick-up day and time for items won.

Items offered online range from baseball trading cards to jewelry and office equipment.

"Nothing really significant like computers or vehicles (are listed), but we will eventually get there," Kaneshiro said in an email.

The online auction ends Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 3 p.m.

Auctioning city items was a time consuming and pricey process before online auctions, Kaneshiro said

It took staff several weeks to collect all the materials in one location, where the items were displayed and inspected by the public. The date and place for the auction was later scheduled for the public to purchase the items.

"This process was time consuming and often took a lot of resources (manpower and vehicles) to put together," he said.

Residents can also view items up for auction by other governmental entities throughout the state, as well as those offered by the city through Public Surplus. Other municipalities offering online auctions include Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Alamogordo and Santa Fe.

A link to the online auction can be found through the city of Belen's website at www.belen-nm.gov.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.