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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Townships Free to Sell Surplus Property on eBay

Illinois lawmakers have cleared the way for local officials to sell used bulldozers and backhoes online.  A recent amendment to the Illinois Township Code gives township boards and road districts the authority to sell unused pavement saws, front end loaders and other surplus property on auctioneering Websites like eBay.

Previous changes to the Township Code eased restrictions on the sale of surplus equipment, eliminating the need to put the matter to a vote of the electors, but there was confusion among some township officials as to whether they had authority to sell surplus equipment online. There was also uncertainty about which surplus property was eligible for online sale, and whether officials had to first conduct a sealed-bidding process before posting unsold items on the Internet.

Public Act 98-0549 attempts to end that confusion by clarifying the rules governing the lease and sale of surplus property. The new law makes it much easier to unload unwanted fire hoses, snow plows and other items collecting dust in township storage facilities.  The changes went into effect on August 26, 2013, the same day they were approved by Governor Quinn.
Now, after township boards and highway commissioners declare specific property as "surplus," they can sell that surplus property by public auction conducted by a licensed auctioneer or through an approved Internet auction service
The amendment also eliminates language that drew a distinction between surplus property valued at $2,500 or less, giving officials more flexibility over what equipment can be sold. Once property is declared as surplus, township boards and highway commissioners will assess its value and recommend a listing price.

The Township Officials of Illinois led the push for approval of Senate Bill 2268. Jerry B. Crabtree, TOI associate director, called the legislation a "clean up bill" that streamlines the process of selling surplus property.
"It was kind of a gray area," Crabtree said. "With this, you can just go directly to eBay once the property is approved as ‘surplus.’"

Authored by Nate Hernandez.  Initially published in Ancel Glink's Local Government News (Fall 2013)


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