In the municipal equivalent of selling your old stuff on eBay, the city of Chicago made $3.6 million by auctioning surplus equipment online, nearly twice the amount it collected in 2010. Chicago’s used junk included fax machine toner, scrap metal, old truck parts and street sweepers. As the saying goes, one city’s trash is another city’s treasure.
“It is our responsibility to the taxpayers of Chicago to leave no stone unturned or old fax machine unsold when it comes to bringing in new revenue to the City,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “For each dollar we bring in through our online auction system, it's one less dollar we have to find from someplace else which allows us to preserve critical City services that Chicagoans depend on. I commend the Department of Procurement Services for its aggressive pursuit of items that can be sold online. It is an example of the type efficient, ingenuity that we will continue to strive for every day.”
Emanuel says we can do even better next year. Already this month, we’ve made $90,000 online by selling 450 tons of scrap metal, several pieces of heavy equipment and a set of decommissioned Micro-Turbine power generators, and the mayor thinks we can earn $4.6 million.
Right now, most of the items on sale at the city’s Public Surplus site are old automobiles, including a 1998 Ford Windstar Minivan. You can also buy 204 limestone slabs, a microfilm machine, two air compressors and 13 strobe lights.
That, of course, is more than enough money to keep the libraries open on Mondays. But that’s not where the money is going, because it’s not the city’s fault the libraries are closed. It’s the union’s fault. Maybe if we close our libraries altogether, we can make even more money online, by selling all our old books on Amazon.
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