Franklin County may recoup more money by using an online auction service to get rid of outdated equipment and other property.
The agreement with the company, Purple Wave of Manhattan, Kan., does not cost the county anything, officials say.
First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker noted that the buyer, not the county, will pay a fee to the company for providing the auction service.
Local auctioneer Diane Riley with D. Riley Auction & Realty, LLC, said online auction companies such as Purple Wave are competition for local auctioneers. But she said it does not upset her that the county is using the service.
Riley pointed out that the United States is a free market and her company could also offer an online auction service.
Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz said using Purple Wave is a “great idea,” noting that past methods of scheduling public auctions and lining up auctioneers can be costly.
Typically, local auction companies put the fee on the seller, not the buyer, Riley said. However, she said buyer fees become more common toward St. Louis.
In the case of the county’s agreement with Purple Wave, the buyer pays the fee.
“That’s good for Franklin County,” Riley said.
Online auctions provide a broader audience, said Riley, who is the executive director of the Missouri Professional Auctioneers Association.
Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer, who serves on the OATS Transportation Board of Directors, said that group sold a totaled van with Purple Wave to see how the service would work and got $6,500.
“It’s taxpayer money,” Griesheimer said. “If we get more money this way, we’re better off.”
Franklin County Highway Administrator Joe Feldmann said representatives from Purple Wave have already been over to the highway department to take pictures and video of equipment.
Brinker said the great benefit of Purple Wave is that there is no cost to the county. He noted that the company receives a commission off the sale of the property, which can be auctioned off nationwide with the service.
“They take the item and put it on the auction,” Brinker said. “If you’re on the computer viewing the auction, you can bid. If you’re the successful bidder, there is a 10 percent purchasing processing fee that you’re charged as the bidder.”
The county still gets all the money for the cost of the item, he said.
“It’s really, really a pretty slick operation,” Brinker said, adding it’s a “nice way to turn our surplus into savings.”
Public auctions will “still be used for other things,” said Griesheimer. But he noted that Purple Wave is “worth a try” when it comes to disposing of larger equipment.
“It’s been proven that it works, and we get more money out of it,” Griesheimer added.