By KELLY WILSON
ANNAPOLIS (April 16, 2008) - As part of a statewide effort to trim expenses, the sale Maryland's surplus items has jumped to the Internet.
The Department of General Services made the shift to auctioning agency property online at the start of February.
The items available include everything from office furniture to construction equipment.
The move of state sales to the Internet will save taxpayer dollars and make the items more accessible to Maryland residents, said Dave Humphrey, spokesman for DGS.
"It's real easy," he said. "If I can do it anyone can do it."
Originally the surplus items were transported from locations around the state and stored in a single warehouse in Jessup.
Gov. Martin O'Malley announced the unit's closure in July. Although it is still operational, it is to close down completely by May 31, or once the items now housed there are sold.
Humphrey said the closure will eliminate costs from transportation as well as the positions that would have been required for the general maintenance and operation of the facility.
Those employees are to be reabsorbed into positions in other state agencies after the warehouse closes, he said.
Shutting down the warehouse is expected to save about $200,000 annually, Humphrey said.
The warehouse and the land on which it sits are to be sold for approximately $2.4 million, he said.
Since implementing the program Maryland state agencies have made more than 100 transactions and brought in about $70,000.
"We're embracing technology and we have a much more effective way to deal with the state surplus items," Humphrey said.
State agencies are to be given priority in the auctions, he said. If none bid on a particular item it will be open for public bidding.
The online auction system has also proven successful for other state agencies.
Since July 2006 the state comptroller's office has used eBay to auction off the baseball cards, jewelry and other unclaimed property from safety deposit boxes that remain unpaid for three years. The office has brought in about $300,000 since then, said Joseph Shapiro, spokesman for Comptroller Peter Franchot.
Other states that use online auctioning include Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware.
Auctions of state surplus items can be found at www.govdeals.com.
Capital News Service contributed to this report.