Kennebunk Fire and Rescue’s Engine 4 is off to a new home in New Hampshire – the location of the successful bidder for the vehicle  on a GovDeals.com. auction. Kennebunk decided to give the nationwide auction site a try, in an effort to reach a wider audience – and perhaps fetch a bit more cash than the local bid process. So far, the two items sold, including the fire truck have fetched more money than expected. Courtesy Photo 

KENNEBUNK — The sale of a 25-year-old fire truck and an old police department sedan on the auction site Gov.Deals.com has turned out to be a good deal for the town of Kennebunk.

When the hammer went down, both vehicles went for more than expected, putting a little more jingle in the town’s coffers.

Fire Chief Jeff Rowe got the go-ahead from members of the Select Board to try and sell a 1994 International fire truck, Engine 4, on the nationwide auction site earlier this year, rather than go the usual route, seeking competitive bids, which he estimated usually came from within a 50-mile radius. Rowe figured the wider audience could net a better price.

Rowe last week said when he was buying used fire trucks for the departments he has worked for, he never spent more than $1,500 for them.

And used police vehicles tend to fetch bids in the $500 range, town officials have previously said.

Rowe decided to test the waters first with the old police department Ford Taurus. The sedan went on the auction block at GovDeals.com for 10 days, ending Jan. 23. It attracted 501 visitors and 26 “watchers,” who are bidders that receive automatic notifications as the auction progresses. In the end, the vehicle sold for $3,225 — all of which goes to the town of Kennebunk. GovDeals.com makes money through a 12.5 percent buyer premium, which means the successful bidder paid $403 to the auction house as well as paying Kennebunk for the car.

“It has been a successful first try,” said Rowe at the time.

Next came the fire truck, for which the town had set a minimum bid of $4,000.

Town Manager Mike Pardue told Select Board members that after 10 days, 898 site visits and 40 bids, the fire truck went to a Hampton, New Hampshire, bidder. The successful bidder will pay $6,875 to the town of Kennebunk, and $859 to GovDeals.com, as the 12.5 percent premium.

“Bidding was fast and furious,” said Rowe. “In the last few minutes, the bid went up $1,300.”

The matter came to the Select Board because current town policies differ on disposal methods, depending on the value of the item involved. Items valued at more than $3,000, like the fire truck, are to go through a public auction and competitive bid process.

GovDeals.com bills itself as a nationwide online site for government surplus, where anyone may bid, but only government entities may list. On a recent weekday, there were auction items posted by the City of Saco and by the State of Maine.

On Feb. 12, Kennebunk posted another vehicle on the GovDeals auction website — a 2013 Ford Police Explorer Interceptor. A couple of hours later, it already had two bids. That auction ends on Feb. 25.

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