Heights Police Auction To Be Managed By Midwest Liquidators Instead Of Police Force

Andrew Trzaska | January 10, 2012

Instead of officers being paid overtime to run the event, Midwest Liquidators on Laketon Avenue in Muskegon will auction off items left unclaimed in the police’s property room in the City of Muskegon Heights.

The city council of Muskegon Heights unanimously passed a resolution to award a contract to Midwest Liquidators at Monday’s full council meeting, a move described as a cost-saver because of decreased labor costs and opportunities for increased overall revenue.

The property in question has been left are materials forfeited from arrests and unclaimed stolen items. Illegal items will not be part of the auction, nor will any firearms; forfeited firearms are sent from local municipalities to Lansing and destroyed, according the Muskegon Heights police chief Lynne Gill.

Gill indicated that the liquidators would receive a 20% cut of the revenue generated from the auction.

Councilman Vernonell Smith inquired at Monday’s service meeting whether the city would do better monetarily if they continued to handle these events.

“It just seems with us rebuilding, it would be more cost effective to keep [the management of the event] in city hall.”

Chief Gill indicated that members of the city’s police force previously ran the auction of items and were paid overtime to run the event.

Mayor Darrell Paige indicated that having professionals like Midwest Liquidators could help drive final buying prices higher. Professional auctioneers are more skilled and could generate more revenue than the police force could. Higher overall revenue could still possibly earn the city more money overall even with Midwest taking their 20% off the top.

Chief Gill noted as well that if responsibilities were spread across the already-minimal staff in city hall, the event would grow more complex and sap productivity elsewhere in city hall.

Councilman Smith also inquired about the legal needs of selling items such as bikes that have serial numbers on them.  Gill noted Monday that Midwest Liquidators would keep detailed records of all items auctioned off, and the police force had their own records as well from the initial cataloguing of the items being sold.

No date is currently set for the auction, though Gill indicated it would come in “the next few weeks” and the public would be notified ahead of the sale.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst