GRAFTON, Mass. — Want to be the first on your block to own a 1997 Elgin Pelican street sweeper with 12,562 miles on it and a maximum speed of 35 mph? How about a 1977 Dodge pickup once used by the Grafton Fire Department?
If so, log onto the Internet and place your bid on publicsurplus.com, an eBay-type site designed for municipalities to convert their trash into your treasure. Starting today and until Feb. 27, the town of Grafton is experimenting with online auctions in a creative way to stretch the town budget. Anyone with a computer can bid on the six vehicles listed — but if you win, a tow truck might be in order.
“Some of them would not be able to be driven off the site under their own power,” said Kevin J. Mizikar, assistant town administrator.
Mizikar said he doesn’t know how much money the town can raise in the auction — perhaps up to $10,000. But the town has no use for the obsolete trucks, he said. Some have been sitting unused on town property for years. But if the experiment goes well, Grafton will use it again.
Bidding and winning is similar to eBay. Public Surplus LLC, based in Provo, Utah, handles the bids, contacts the winner and collects the money by wire transfer or credit card. The winner pays sales tax and a 10 percent buyer’s premium, which goes to the site. The town collects the full winning bid with no fee. The winner is responsible for picking up the item.
Aside from the street sweeper and the pickup truck, other items offered include a 2002 Ford Explorer listed as in poor condition, a 1987 Mack truck with an inoperable sander attached, a 1999 Ford F-350 truck with a snow blade and a 1998 Chevy truck that has been sitting on the lot for six years.
In October, an approved town warrant gave the municipal center avenues beyond the traditional “rain or shine” gavel auction or advertisements in the local newspaper. Expanding to the Internet, Mizikar said it casts a wider net.
All money raised will go to the town’s general fund, Mizikar said.