Sykesville hopes to clean house and make a tidy profit from clutter taking up storage space.
Instead of taking a costly trip to the county landfill, where disposal costs $45 a ton, officials favor auctioning truly odd lots from the town offices, maintenance shop and Police Department.
"We can clean house and put this all together," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman.
When Laura Lindberg, clerk treasurer, suggested a silent auction to rid town buildings of unused, outdated equipment, most departments offered items to go on the block.
The maintenance department would contribute lawn tools, and the town police force would add unclaimed or confiscated property.
"This would be a lot better than going to the dump with this stuff," said Councilman Charlie Mullins.
Two monitor-less computers and a few cell phones, discarded for more sleek models, are gathering dust at the Town House, the seat of municipal government. Several bicycles abandoned around town fill a corner of the building's basement. In the maintenance shed, a drill press, edgers, weed trimmers and several "beyond repair" lawn mowers, riding and push varieties, occupy needed space.
"All the departments have accumulated stuff we don't need any longer," said Matthew H. Candland, town manager. "We would be selling these things mostly for the parts. There is nothing worth a lot, but one man's junk can be another man's treasure."
The council is looking for a volunteer auctioneer and combing the schedule for an appropriate Saturday and a spot to display and sell the items. The maintenance shed on Sandosky Road near Main Street seems the most likely location for a crush of buyers. "We could have it right here, a town-spirited auction," said Herman.
This would be fall housecleaning and a yard sale on a municipal scale, an event that Herman's experience says could prove profitable.
"I have seen stuff go at auction for more than it sells new, because there is a buyers' frenzy," Herman said.
The Police Department held an auction a few years ago, turning outdated inventory into revenue for the town's general fund.
"There may even be confiscated phones and pagers from drug raids," said Candland. "We are allowed by law to sell them."
The surplus has created a task for the municipal staff.
"We need to do a full-blown capital inventory and get everything on the record with ID numbers," said Lindberg.