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November 16, 2007

State surplus auction website offers Municipal Governments service to sell unneeded equipment
Village of Riverdale first to use iBid to sell prairie schooner, harpsichord and Riverside’s surplus water meters

SPRINGFIELD – Municipalities throughout Illinois can now auction their surplus property using the State’s on-line auction system, iBid.  Today the Village of Riverside will become the first local government to sell unneeded equipment using the system, which is operated as part of the State’s surplus property operation run by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS). 

Riverside, a suburb west of Chicago on the Des Plaines River, is using the innovative iBid service – sometimes called “the eBay™ of Illinois” – to find buyers for several tons of used brass water meters, a 10" groundwater pump assembly, and an antique roll-top desk – a solid oak writing desk from Marshall Field’s, circa 1940s.

“Riverside’s participation offers iBid shoppers unique products and helps us expand the inventory of products for sale on the State’s auction site.  With a wider array of products, we will increase participation in the bidding process and generate more money for both the state and the communities that participate,” said Maureen O’Donnell, Acting Director, CMS.

Other unusual items in this week’s online auction include: a working replica of a Conestoga-style pioneer covered wagon or “prairie schooner”, a harpsichord, a large 6-bay refrigerator, a Ford 5000 tractor, two motorcycles (1988 Suzuki GN250 with 3,471 miles and a 1985 Honda CB125S with 3,360 miles), Pentium-4 personal computers, a Weaver above-ground vehicle lift, a Hyster self-propelled electric fork lift, an applied Biosystems DNA synthesizer, a Sun Computer II vehicle diagnostic machine, a Norco 20-ton air hydraulic floor jack and a Deardorff antique photo enlarger.

Eventually, Riverside plans to use iBid to sell a wide variety of surplus equipment including office furniture, computers and cameras.  For the first weekly auction, which ends at 6 p.m. Sunday, November 25, the village will offer:

• Water Meters – more than 500 brass water meters, of varied manufacturers, suitable for rebuilds or scrap metal, with a total weight approximately 6,000 pounds,
• Pump Stages – 13 bronze and stainless steel 10-inch pump stages for a multi-stage vertical turbine pump, in good condition, including pump intake, pump bowl and other miscellaneous parts, suitable for rebuilding or use for parts, and
• An antique roll-top wooden writing desk from Marshall Field’s with brass fixtures.

“We anticipate iBid’s thousands of potential bidders will give us a higher return compared to the smaller audience of a local auction,” said Mike Hullihan, Director of Public Works for Riverside. “The pump stages are actually worth quite a bit of money.  They’re in excellent condition, but since we closed down the well a couple of years ago we don’t need them and they just take up space.” 

The iBid auction service has recently undergone a number of system improvements.  The upgraded version of the weekly on-line auction – http://ibid.illinois.gov – enables bidders to view competing bids as they occur, watch multiple auctions simultaneously, place absentee bids, and search auction lots by specific categories, among other enhancements.
CMS recently expanded the site to encourage other state offices, municipalities and other local government agencies to take advantage of the iBid system to dispose of surplus vehicles, computers, desks and other property they no longer need. 

“Our iBid website enables local governments to meet requirements to conduct public auctions of surplus property without the time and expense it takes to develop, procure and maintain their own system, while at the same time expanding the market for surplus items from a local flea market to a worldwide community of interested bidders. During our state’s difficult fiscal times, Gov. Blagojevich asked CMS to be creative in reducing costs and generating revenue, and iBid is a shining example of how we’re working to achieve that goal,” said O’Donnell.

The cost to local agencies to use the State service is about half of most on-online auction systems.  Illinois municipalities can use the iBid service for 4% per item – substantially less than eBay or other services, which often charge sellers 8% to 10% per item.  (On iBid, the highest bidder pays for the item as well as surcharges for the service and shipping and handling.)

Since its launch in 2003, the iBid website has offered and sold 5,603 items to more than 12,000 registered bidders worldwide, generating $1.3 million in on-line sales for the State of Illinois. 

The new version of iBid – incorporating improvements developed by Web Data Corporation – features the use of innovative, real-time bidding technology to post competing bids as they occur, without the need to refresh the screen.  Other new features enable bidders to search and filter auction lots by detailed categories, view and bid on a personalized “Lot Watch” selection of items, register “Preferred Categories” to receive email notifications when selected items are posted for auction, and place absentee bids and receive email notifications if they are exceeded. 

Since its inception at the Illinois State Fair in 2003, more than 12,000 bidders throughout the world have visited and registered on the website.  This market exposure has improved the resale value of surplus property by exponentially expanding access to unneeded items, resulting in a higher rate of return to Illinois taxpayers.  Surplus sold over the years has included boats, vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, outdoor equipment, electronics, and other personal property typically utilized by Illinois government – even a helicopter. 

Last year, the state generated more than $1.3 million in surplus property sales.  In addition to its weekly iBid auctions on-line, CMS also hosts regular surplus property and auto auctions in Springfield and last fall, expanded those on-site surplus auctions to enable people to place bids online. To learn more about the Surplus Property Program, visit www.cms.illinois.gov.


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