Houston County holds annual surplus auction
Want a fire truck, a cheap ride or some oddity owned by Houston County? Check out the county’s surplus auction June 6.
A 1987 Ford Firetruck with 42,494 miles and a blown engine, sheriff’s vehicles with 100,000-plus miles and farm tractors used to pull rotary mowers are among the surplus up for grabs at the annual auction.
A church pew that once graced a county courtroom, some tires and a vacuum cleaner are also in the mix.
“I’ve never had a problem selling everything,” Houston County Purchasing Agent Mark Baker said of the surplus auctions. “We’re going to get some price for it.”
All surplus will go the highest bidder except for the fire truck, Baker said.
“If the fire truck doesn’t bring what I feel like it ought to bring, we’ll hold on to it,” he said.
The auction starts at 10 a.m. at the Houston County Warehouse at 2022 Kings Chapel Road in Perry. Registration starts at 9 a.m.
“You have to have a number to bid,” Baker said. “It’s best you get there early.”
He said the auctions are well attended.
“We have a lot of used car dealers come, farmers come, just general public comes,” Baker said. “We usually have a pretty good crowd. It gets bigger and bigger every year.”
About 31 vehicles are up at the auction, including retired public works pickup trucks, he said.
Most of the vehicles are retired sheriff’s vehicles.
“A lot of people buy ‘em and fix ‘em up,” Baker said. “I’ve had some people come back to me and say, ‘Hey, I bought an Old Crown Vic and I’ve got 400,000 miles on it now.’ A lot of people in the cab business used to buy those.”
While Baker’s seen the bidding get as high as $10,000 for some retired vehicles, he said the price tag at auction is usually pretty low.
“People who didn’t want to buy new vehicles and couldn’t afford it, they would buy the old Crown Vics because they’re just good cars,” Baker said of those buying the retired vehicles. “People who just need a vehicle that’s cheap.”
In addition to the Crown Victories, there’s a few Dodge Chargers on the auction block.
The majority of the vehicles run, Baker said. Some have problems.
“Could be some minor things. Could be some major things. We don’t guarantee anything,” Baker said. “I mean we’re getting rid of them for a reason.”
In law enforcement, deputies need to have top-notch, reliable vehicles, Baker noted.
Potential buyers may not do a test-drive, but they can view the vehicles and other auction inventory from 1 to 4 p.m. the day before at the Houston County Warehouse or during registration the day of the event.
“If we know it, we tell them,” Baker said of potential problems with a vehicle. “We don’t hide anything.
“We go down the line. We try to crank up the car, and we start the bid on it and whoever has the high bid, that’s the one who gets it,” he said.
Other items up at auction include laptops with hard drives removed and destroyed for security, printers, flat screen monitors, chairs and other furniture and office equipment.
“The best thing that sells is the vehicles. The rest of the stuff we get minimal for,” Baker said.