Kennebunk will try an online auction company to dispose of a used fire truck, reasoning that wider exposure could result in more bids and better prices. Tammy Wells Photo

KENNEBUNK — Seeking a wider audience and potentially more interest and better prices for the disposal of used equipment, Kennebunk Fire Chief Jeff Rowe asked select board members to authorize him to use the online auction service to sell a used fire engine.

After considerable discussion on whether policies ought to be amended, and questions about sole sourcing, the board agreed to allow the listing with the online auction company and report back on the outcome. The board also voted to have Rowe and Town Manager Michael Pardue fix a minimum bid.

Select board member Wayne Berry asked about the potential advantage to Kennebunk and expressed concern about sole sourcing.

“It hits a much larger audience,” said Rowe. He said under the current policies, where the town seeks bids on used equipment, he usually gets just four to five bids, from within a 50-mile radius.

Using an online auction house like makes the equipment listed — in this case a used fire engine — available to potential buyers nationwide, he said.

Rowe pointed out that the process uses competitive bidding once it is listed on the website.


The vehicle to be auctioned is Engine 4, a 1994 International fire truck.

Current town policies differ on disposal methods, depending on the value of the item involved. Items worth more than $3,000 like the fire truck, are to go through a public auction and competitive bid process.

“We can market it the way we always have,” said select board member Christopher Cluff.

“This is just a vehicle we’re using, another marketing channel,” he said.

The website bills itself as a nationwide online site for government surplus, where anyone may bid, but only government entities may list. The company is a division of Liquidity Services, Inc. On a recent day,’s Facebook page listed as available such items as a 2013 Ford Explorer located in Ohio; several outdoor propane patio heaters in Newport, Rhode Island; and 23.8 acres of land on the Crooked River in Ray County, Missouri.

There is no cost to the town to use Successful bidders pay for the item, along with a 12.5 percent premium on their bid.

The select board discussed amending its policy, but later voted to allow Rowe and Pardue to pursue for the fire truck.

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