While the Cazenovia Town Highway Department has maintained excellent standing with local residents for its ability to cope with unexpected overnight blizzards, the department has also been gaining a sterling reputation online, on the Internet auction site AuctionsInternational.com.
When the town board authorized the sale of five pieces of equipment and copier/printers at its April 9 meeting, highway superintendent Tim Hunt said the department has received about $19,500 more than expected during recent sales.
“It’s been very good for the town … Our equipment costs are lower than the towns that are keeping their equipment for 20 years,” Hunt said. “What we’re really trying to do is make sure that we get enough money for the equipment, that it can be replaced with a new piece of equipment. So far we’ve been very successful.”
The department’s cost of owning and operating the equipment is kept at a minimum by selling the gear after a few years, cutting funds needed for parts and repairs.
A 2001 John Deere loader, which is used to transport salt and sand, will soon be replaced with a new model. The department was given a trade-in value of $35,000 and estimated receiving $50,000 on the sale — the loader sold for $63,600.
A 2011 Bobcat skid steer was sold for $26,200. A brand new model was recently ordered for $25,700.
“Because we’re able to buy on state bid, when a town buys something it’s at a 38 percent discount of what the general public would pay,” Hunt said. “We’re able to buy it cheap enough that we can actually operate it for a year-and-a-half, turn around and sell it, and it costs the town absolutely nothing.”
A 1987 Elgin pelican sweeper, which was estimated to sell for about $2,500, was purchased by the town of Johnstown for $6,900. The street sweeper will not be replaced, as the Village of Cazenovia Department of Public Works has agreed to use its newly-purchased sweeper to clear developments and cul-de-sacs within the town.
A 1993 Ferris lawnmower was sold for $2,600. The equipment was considered surplus and will not be replaced.
Old photocopiers formerly used in the town office were sold on the internet auction site, netting about $320.
Also, a 30-year-old Frank V-plow was sold for $1,201. Hunt said he was pleasantly surprised with the outcome, after estimating the plow would only net about $320 in scrap value. The town still owns two more V-plows, and will keep the equipment in the event of heavy snowfall.
Hunt attests the high sales of used equipment to the care and attention put into each item while in use at the highway department. He said the department is done with sales for the year, but may consider listing a backhoe before the next round of transactions in 2013.
“Even if someone hasn’t been successful in winning a bid, they come out to the shop and look it over. They’re usually amazed at how well the equipment is kept and the shop it kept. That word has spread and causes people to know they’re going to get a good piece of equipment when they buy something from us,” Hunt said. “The reason I’m so proud of [highway department employees] is, these pieces of equipment belong to the town of Cazenovia taxpayers, and we need to maintain their assets and make sure that we’re getting the best value for them. I think they’re doing that very well.”
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.