Montana state surplus sale moves online this year

Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-26 11:24:59-04

HELENA — The state of Montana’s annual surplus sale is going on as scheduled this weekend, but the format is much different than in past years.

Every fall, the General Services Division sells off hundreds of vehicles and other equipment that state agencies are no longer using. Usually, they hold a live auction at the state surplus yard in Helena. This year, because of COVID-19, they’ve switched to an online auction.

On Friday, the GSD allowed the public to visit the surplus yard to view the available items. They can bid on more than 500 lots, ranging from cars and trucks, to boats, tractors, snowplows, tools and machinery. Bids will be accepted online through Saturday afternoon.

The online auction opened Sept. 12. GSD administrator Steve Baiamonte said they’ve already received bids on every item. Because of the online format, he said they have had interest from as far away as Wisconsin and New Jersey.

GSD is tasked with officially disposing of all state property.

“This auction alone puts about a million dollars back into the state coffers,” Baiamonte said. “But the other goal is really to get equipment out to either other agencies or eventually the public, so that instead of going to a landfill or a salvage yard, it’s actually being put into use.”

The Helena firm Pate Auction, Inc. is managing the surplus sale. You can find information on the auction and the items available at Pate’s website.

Bids will close on the first lots Saturday at 1 p.m.