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County courts an eBay option

Schenectady County officials are considering using eBay, an online auction site, to sell smaller items that are no longer in use.

Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner said that rather than just tossing out computer equipment that has become out of date, there might be someone who is willing to pay for it through eBay.

"It's a way to generate revenue rather than having to raise taxes," said Gardner.

He said there are a number of pieces of computer equipment that are sitting in storage and are of no use to the county, partly because of a move the Department of Social Security made from their "antiquated" Nott Street location to their new location at 797 Broadway in Schenectady.

People and businesses from all over the world use eBay to sell and buy items.

"It is one of a couple of different sites, and it's the most well-known," said Clifford Stoodley, director of purchasing for the county.

Before the county goes ahead with plans, they are seeking authorization from the Schenectady County Legislature.

"Right now our administrative code only allows us to do an advertised bid type of request for bidding on surplus equipment, or a public auction," said Stoodley.

He said that often it is difficult to sell smaller items at the big auctions, where everyone will come out to bid on items. Stoodley said that another benefit of using eBay is that potential buyers help them figure out how to price items.

"There are a number of other municipalities that use it, including New York State Office of General Services," said Stoodley, who added Saratoga and Albany counties to the list.

Stoodley said he would operate the Internet auctions himself through his office.

The eBay auctions would not entirely replace old fashioned auctions. Those live aucions would still be used for real property and vehicles.

"We're going for authorization this month to do a vehicle auction. We believe that vehicle auctions still should be the old-fashioned auction," said Stoodley. "We're just hoping that this new method will be successful in some of the smaller type auctions," said Stoodley.

The legislation will be voted on at the Tuesday, April 16, meeting of the Schenectady County Legislature.""

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