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Berkeley County, W.Va., is cleaning house with auction

July 15, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Have you ever wanted to own an old police car? Need 17 wooden mannequins? How about a time clock, a metal stretcher, a no-smoking sign, a computer or 68 salt and pepper shakers?

Those are some of the more than 1,000 items that have been declared surplus property by the Berkeley County Commission and will be auctioned Saturday, July 30, starting at 9 a.m.

Prospective bidders can look at the items from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 29.

"It's time to clean house," Berkeley County Commissioner Ron Collins said Thursday. "If it doesn't grow hair, it's out of here."

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The auction will be one of the largest in the county's history.

Many of the items were acquired when the county purchased the former Blue Ridge Outlet Center in Martinsburg - which is the auction's site.

Office equipment to be sold includes cabinets, desks, chairs, computers, printers and phones. Refrigerators, a stove, dishes and other items from a restaurant once in the Dunn Building will be sold, as will paint, hardware, windows, doors, shelving units, trash cans and other items.

More than 20 cars will be sold, including several former Ford Crown Victoria police cruisers, and cars seized by police, including a 1994 Chevrolet Camaro, a 1993 Honda Accord and a Plymouth Laser. Two military surplus Chevrolet Blazers will be sold for parts.

All of the items will be sold to the highest bidders, with no minimum bids required.

Proceeds will be put into the county's general revenue fund.

A preliminary list of the items to be auctioned is available at the County Commission office in the Dunn Building, at the corner of Raleigh and Stephen streets in Martinsburg.

The commissioners said they want to look over the items one more time to ensure nothing is sold that they would rather keep. Benches, flags and flagpoles already have been removed from the list since the commissioners said they intend to use them.

Commissioner Howard Strauss expressed interest in setting aside some chairs for county use, but County Administrator Deborah Hammond advised against it.

"Typically, if an item is in the auction list, it has seen better days," she said.

The items will be sold from inside the Crawford Building on Stephen Street, while the cars will be parked in a nearby parking lot. Some other large items also might be outside, Collins said.

A bucket truck might be sold, provided the county can obtain its title. The utility truck was on the Blue Ridge Outlet Center property when the county bought it three years ago, and Strauss said the truck therefore belongs to the county.

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