Schenectady County

Schenectady unable so far to sell ex-mayor’s sport utility vehicle

A low-key advertisement in local newspapers and on the city website convinced exactly zero people to

A low-key advertisement in local newspapers and on the city website convinced exactly zero people to buy former Mayor Brian U. Stratton’s Jeep.

Now the city will try an online auction, which is what Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy wanted to do in the first place.

“It’s something the staff has not embraced,” he said. “I’m not quite happy with the way the process has gone. Sometimes bringing change is a little slower than you’d like.”

The city’s Finance Department wanted prospective buyers to submit written bids, while Corporation Counsel L. John Van Norden cautioned an online auction site could cost the city too much money.

“EBay was not the preferred way,” Van Norden said, citing the possibility that someone could bid $1 and win the auction.

EBay allows sellers to set a minimum price or a secret reserve price that automatically cancels the sale if the winning bid is too low, but both of those options add to the cost of the auction.

“A reserve costs you money,” Van Norden said. “The risk is, you may have to spend money to get rid of it. If we get a bid for a dollar and we don’t structure it any other way, we have to sell it for a dollar. Or you may end up spending money to sell it [and] you may not sell it.”

McCarthy wasn’t convinced. City officials gave buyers about two weeks to bid on the Jeep, setting Wednesday as the deadline.

When no one submitted a bid for the vehicle, McCarthy told department heads he will try an online auction now.

Van Norden, meanwhile, is surprised no one bid on the Jeep.

“It’s a very well-maintained vehicle,” he said. “We had a professional maintenance group maintaining this vehicle. I actually thought someone would bid on it. They got the value right from [Kelley] Blue Book.”

The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo was listed at $11,000. It has 97,000 miles on it.

Kelley Blue Book lists that type of vehicle as worth $11,450 in excellent condition and $10,750 in good condition.

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