COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Auctions of vehicles at the police department's impound lot, for which public notices are currently posted in the newspaper, would switch from two outside websites to the city's website, under a proposal from police Monday.
Police said that such a switch would save the $5,000 spent annually to post notices in the Colorado Springs Gazette, and create greater interest and participation in auctions that generally are attended only by people who either know about them or are familiar with them.
The proposed switch may help sell more unclaimed vehicles and create more space in the lot -- located next to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office on Las Vegas Street -- that has been at or near capacity for several years.
“We do around 250 vehicles per month that are posted publicly — and of those, only around 15 to 20 actually go through the process of being sold to an individual," said police Commander John Koch. "The others are in such states of disrepair that they end up going for scrap.”
Around 1,000 vehicles, including cars, trucks, recreational vehicles and bicycles, are crammed onto the 13-acre lot.
Police completed an expansion of the lot last year and are currently exploring a second expansion to create more space, but no specifics have been announced.
After hearing the proposal, Council members decided to place the matter on their consent calendar, meaning that it likely will pass without discussion at their two regular meetings next month.
Councilman Bill Murray is skeptical of the idea and prefers to continue posting notices in the Gazette.
“Add to your ability to sell these vehicles at the highest value," he said. "I want to make sure that the Business Journal and the Indy (two local publications) both have the same opportunities; and not everyone is on the Internet."
But Councilman Wayne Williams disagrees.
“I don’t think it makes sense to continue the expense for the existing paper, or to expand it to multiple publications," he explained. "And with respect to those that don’t want to be connected to the Internet, there are options for free service at our libraries.”
The proposal includes the possibility of including personal notifications about future auctions to citizens.
Last year, police said that impounded vehicle auctions generated $425,000 in revenue, and $900,000 from scrap metal transactions.