It's your city, Maryland. Why not take a piece of it home today?
The Annapolis city government is cleaning out its storage rooms and putting its not-so-designer public works items up for sale.
You can do more than just run a red light. You can buy it for $35. Ten bucks will get you a street lamp -- pole not included. Parking meters, at $25, are a bit more pricey but you never have to feed them.
The city's first yard sale is meant to generate a little extra change for this year's Fourth of July fireworks show. If the event goes as planned, people would pay for the castoffs that their tax dollars bought in the first place.
"You can pick up odds and ends that have been hanging around the city for years," said City Administrator Michael D. Mallinoff, a yard sale enthusiast who dreamed up the idea. "It's just a small-town kind of event."
The city wants to raise nearly $20,000 to pay for a spectacular pyrotechnics display. A reconstruction project on Main Street has shut out the annual parade, so to make up for lost festivities, the city will explode 1,400 shells in the fireworks finale alone.
Visitors who are not interested in bargaining for city wares can pick up free mulch or buy a Main Street brick signed by Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins for $1. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Truxtun Heights Park.
Mayor Hopkins isn't giving away his plaques and ceremonial loot collected over the years, but he's donating those belonging to former mayors. Used basketball and baseball trophies -- with the last winners' names lifted off -- also will be on sale.
Some of the items have no apparent household use. After all, what good is a lawn blower with missing parts? And aren't there enough coffee mugs in the world without the Department of Planning and Zoning putting its collection up for sale?
Nevertheless, there's something for everyone. Thomas W. Roskelly, the city's public information officer, has received 90 calls, including several from antique dealers.
"The question is, 'Who would want it?' " he said. "The answer is, 'Somebody.' "
But not Joseph Allen. He has spent 21 years fixing and hauling city signs and signals and hates to think of what would happen if he brought them home. "My wife would kick me out of the house," he said.
City officials are being careful not to sell too much. At the last minute, they pulled a set of two-way radios from the sale when workers realized the buyer could break into conversations on the city frequency.
The wares do offer a glimpse into the city's buying decisions. One item, a large mechanical room divider purchased for several thousand dollars, was never used because workers couldn't get it through the office door.
Other items are much smaller, however, including a pair of sneakers confiscated by city police.
"They're in my size," said parks and recreation Director Richard B. Callahan, a size-12 bureaucrat. "And that's hard to find."