Online auctions widen the ’Net

Governmental entities from townships to counties, from school districts to state universities and from fire districts to sewer districts are casting a wider net these days to find buyers for surplus property.

Make that a wider ‘Net, as in Internet, because online auctions are being used to sell items such as office furniture and dump trucks.

Tuesday, Seneca County commissioners approved using an Internet auction in stead of a live auction or sealed bids to dispose of outdated or unneeded county property. It’s really nothing new; local entities already have been unloading such stuff online. See for examples.

Ohio Department of Administrative Services runs a similar auction of surplus state property. Items to be auctioned can be viewed online; brief descriptions of vehicles to be on the block are available. But the auction itself is live and in person.

Online auctions have the potential to involve a larger market of likely bidders, and allow more potential buyers to view items for sale on their own schedule. That should add up to higher prices for the governmental entities involved while spurring the reuse of surplus items that otherwise might end up in the waste stream.

Sounds like a good idea.