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Metro Newsroom

City Eclipses Million-Dollar Milestone in Surplus Sales

Wednesday April 18, 2007

Everything from cars, bicycles and a helicopter sold online

Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that the city has “unloaded” more than a million dollars worth of surplus government vehicles, equipment and other items through online auctions.

Metro Government sells obsolete and other surplus items through its website,, and, an online service similar to eBay. The $3,760 sale of a Case International 585 tractor to a bidder in Cookeville, Tenn., recently brought the total funds generated through the online auctions to more than $1 million.

“The online auctions are a creative way this government is operating efficiently and effectively for our citizens,” Abramson said. “We’re unloading items that have outlived their useful life for government, and in doing so creating a revenue stream and reducing warehouse space.”

Abramson said the online auctions often generate more money than traditional auction-house auctions because items are up for bids around the clock and the online auctions allow more people – virtually from anywhere – to participate. Since beginning the online auctions in March 2004, Louisville has held more than 1,200 auctions, drawing more than 38,000 different bids from as far as California, New York and Florida.

Frequent auction items include vehicles, tractors, heavy machinery and equipment, and electronics. The city also has auctioned a helicopter, a Zamboni, a houseboat and an RV trailer. One bidder purchased 150 bicycles and shipped them to a South African orphanage.

Money generated from the sale of surplus 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 reduced the amount of space used to house unused or obsolete items. Two storage locations have been completely emptied, providing room for new administrative space for the police department, a new combined archives facility for citizens to look up old city and county records, space for the city’s landscaping division and the Board of Elections’ new voting machines.

Louisville Online Auctions – By the Numbers

1,264 - Items auctioned

38,000 - Different bids placed

$1,108,315 - Total sales generated

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

$14,000 - Highest-priced car sold, a 1990 Mercedes convertible

$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

1% - Louisville is in the top 1 percent for sales volume of all 1,180 governments and public agencies using the GovDeals auction system

To view surplus items currently up for bid, visit and look for “Buy Surplus Items” under the “I Want To…” section.