City hoping to net cash from e-bids

City government is going online to get rid of its old parking meters, worn-out vehicles, used office furniture and other stuff it no longer needs.

Starting around Feb. 1, bidders in the market for used city property can head to the Web site of Public Surplus, a Utah company that operates an eBay-style service for local governments.

Public Surplus' first auctions of city property will be a pilot project. If the sales succeed, the city will seek bids from companies interested in setting up a permanent city-auction program.

"This pilot to sell surplus city goods is an innovative way for the city to raise revenue through technology," said Julianne Cho, a spokeswoman for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Internet auctions bring prices 35 percent to 250 percent higher than what governments get from live auctions, said Eric Heaps, Public Surplus' chief operating officer.

Public Surplus' Web site carries hundreds of used and surplus items from governments across the country - everything from police motorcycles, fire trucks and chain saws to diapers, clothing and artificial Christmas trees.