CAPE CORAL, Fla.- The city of Cape Coral is trying to unload millions of dollars worth of equipment meant to treat sewage sludge. But what they'd get could be much less than what they paid.
The city is selling the equipment on a website similar to EBAY but for government entities. It spent millions of dollars on the equipment in 2007 but then decided it didn't need to use it. Now the question is will the city lose money on something it never needed in the first place?
Up for bid on the website govdeals.com, is Cape Coral's bio-solid processing equipment. Equipment like this is used to treat sewage, and many of the pieces are still under wraps.
Utilities Director Jeff Pearson says the city bought these items in 2007 to use them in a new treatment facility. But that would cost more than originally expected. "It would have required an additional capital investment of approximately 20 million dollars," he explained.
In a twist, the city decided not build another facility. Now it's left with un-used equipment it never needed in the first place. That's where the online auction comes into play. "That equipment has been on that website for the past 30 days," said Pearson.
Not all of the equipment bought in 2007 will be up for auction. About three million dollars of it will be put to use in the plant located in the southwest section of the city.
The rest of it, a rough total of eleven million dollars, is up for bid. Right now someone has only bid $2.7 million, and the city's reserve price has not been met.
Residents we talked to say they realize the city might not get back the money it spent years ago.
"In 2007 things were pretty good here but now things have changed to sometimes the best, sometimes not so good," said resident Sara Rodriguez.
"It's standard. You buy something, but when you go to sell it, you always take a hit," said resident Michael Motto.
Instead of building a new plant, the city created a partnership with Lee County to haul away sludge.
The clock is ticking on the bids. The online auction ends on Thursday. October 4th. The city is keeping its reserve price a secret, but we're told if it doesn't get a decent price for the equipment it may try to sell the equipment again in the future.