AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you’re looking for a deal on a Christmas gift, you can find anything from artwork to diamond rings on government auction sites.
The items are all assets police officers seized from criminals: Heavy equipment, tax foreclosures, designer shoes — even cars.
The internet shifted the surplus sales from in-person to completely online.
“Our goal has always been to get the most money for the seller, so how do we do that? We make it accessible to everybody that we can,” auctioneer Rick Basinger said. “About five years ago, we began the process and the last three years, I don’t believe I’ve done a live cry auction since.”
The Basinger Auctions house has been around for nearly 30 years. Rick entered the family business right out of high school.
He said internet auctions bring in more money.
“We can reach people as far as New York,” he said. “They come and buy old police cars to use as taxi cabs, so it actually enabled the township to get a better return on the investment. We get more money for a vehicle that we would never have got with a live auction.”
Austintown Trustee Jim Davis said online auctions are a win for local governments, which keeps the proceeds from these auctions.
“Increasing return, getting more tax dollars into your coffers,” he said. “When you are faced with budget cuts, you need to save every penny you can.”
There are several websites where you can bid for items online: