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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

City Government Tops $3 Million in Surplus Sales

Thursday December 1, 2011

Including helicopter, river patrol boat, two zoo trains

Louisville Metro topped the $3 million mark in sales of government equipment and confiscated items through, an online auction service similar to eBay.

The city sells obsolete and surplus items, as well as items acquired through Louisville Metro Police Department’s confiscated property room. The first item went up for bid on GovDeals, in March 2004.

Since then, more than 2,500 items have been sold online to people all over the world, generating $3.1 million of revenue for the city.

“The online auctions are a creative way Louisville is operating efficiently,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “We’re selling items that are no longer useful for government, reducing the need for warehouse space, and generating revenue at the same time.”

Fischer said the online auctions have generated more money than the traditional auction-house auctions because items are available for bid 24/7, and people from virtually anywhere can participate. Frequent auction items include vehicles, tractors, heavy machinery and equipment, and electronics. The city most recently auctioned a river patrol boat and two zoo trains.

Money generated from the sale of surplus and confiscated property is returned to the city’s general fund, along with other revenues, used to provide government services. Using the online auctions to manage surplus assets, the city has permanently reduced the amount of space used to store unused or obsolete items.

Louisville Online Auctions – By the Numbers

2,567 Auctions Conducted

78,732 Different bids placed

$3,111,690 Total sales generated

$97,999 Highest-priced item sold, a 1980 Hughes 500D helicopter

$25,850 Highest-priced car sold, a 2000 Ford Excursion

$500-$3,000 Price range for sale of Crown Victorias, depending on condition

$7,400 Average price generated for a typical tractor in working condition

$12,000 Average price generated for a backhoe or loader

7.5% Percentage of commission paid for online auction, as opposed to 24 percent for auction-house commission

19 Louisville is ranked 19th highest seller, out of the 4,144 governments and public agencies using the GovDeals auction system, being outsold only by eighteen other clients, all of which are whole states.

View Louisville’s auction items through the city’s website,, and click on “See and Bid on City Surplus”, under the “I Want To…” section. (