Township’s surplus ordinance now in effect

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 19, 2014

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Clinton Township board unanimously voted to adopt a new ordinance that would aid in widespread distribution of property.

The surplus ordinance, adopted during the Feb. 10 township board meeting, was first introduced and published during the Jan. 27 board meeting. It became the township’s desire to dispose of its property in a more timely fashion.

Following that meeting, Treasurer Bill Sowerby likened the then-proposed ordinance to a virtual garage sale that would help publicly dispose of township-owned properties, and in turn, the township would receive a fair deal in the process.

“Throughout the years, communities like ours will have equipment and township-owned property that has utilized its life, and so when that equipment gets replaced with newer equipment, there is value of that equipment to someone else,” Sowerby said then.

Township Attorney Jack Dolan added that the ordinance’s goal is to allow greater flexibility in selling obsolete and surplus property in exchange for the best price.

At the Feb. 10 meeting, Dolan reiterated why he thought the ordinance would be positive for the township.

“It’s intended to modernize our process for disposing of surplus personal property,” Dolan said. “Examples would be various properties that the police department comes into possession of, abandoned properties or properties that are seized.

“What we’re looking to do is establish a process with some dollar limits and keep the (township) board informed of those dollar limits. (We want to) avail ourselves of some of the electronic sites that have a pretty proven track record of obtaining a better price for us in the disposal of property. Years ago, we were left with ads in the paper which oftentimes attracted a lesser number of interested parties who were willing to make offers.”

Dolan mentioned websites like Repocast, eBay and Craigslist that would potentially get the township a higher return on its surplus property.

Since it was adopted at the last board meeting, the ordinance is currently in effect. It’s only a matter of time until residents and the public can search for said properties.

At press time, Dolan said the township is currently working on completing its registration with Repocast, a website that specializes in things like online auctions. It’s just a matter of finishing documents and then looking at properties on a case-by-case basis, including various properties seized or found abandoned by police department and older automobiles, among others.

Trustee Paul Gieleghem applauded the township’s pragmatism.

“This market has changed dramatically over the years, so I think this is a really good step in the right direction of handling surplus property and holding property through a process that’s defined in a specific ordinance, and expands our opportunity to make funds off those properties,” Gieleghem said.