In the former water plant at 18 McGrath Ln. sits heaps of goods amid cobwebs. The items, ranging from furniture to office supplies to Barbie dolls, once called the town offices home but now sit in repose at the end of their useful life, waiting to be disposed as unwanted town assets.
Milton residents will have the opportunity to shop this pile of stuff on August 11 following a two-week online auction that ended in late July, just one hoop the town had to jump through to get rid of the material.
“The process of disposing of a town asset is time consuming,” town manager Don Turner said. “We’re going to clean it out.”
Turner was alerted to the stored goods when he assumed his position last fall. Upon discovering them, he sought ways to dispose of the items and regain the lost space.
“It doesn’t make sense to have this big building full of stuff that no one wants,” Turner said.
Sheila Mooney, Turner’s executive assistant, looked into Milton’s disposal policy. As per Policy 97-12, signed into effect in 1997, town assets that are not “time sensitive” must be sold by auction.
With the help of GovDeals, an online auction site that helps governments sell surplus and confiscated items, Mooney placed 43 lots, comprised of 150 individual items, for sale.
Eighteen assets sold for a net profit of $3,630, which will go into the general fund, according to Turner. The selectboard will determine how best to use the proceeds.
Mooney set the starting bids after she conducted research and conversed with town employees to appropriately price items.
GovDeals has 650,000 customers, which enabled the town to reach buyers in distant locations, Mooney said. Buyers from as far as Florida, Oregon and Pennsylvania purchased a map scanner and other objects from the water plant’s hoard.
The goods must be picked up from the site by August 10, although buyers can pay to have their purchases packaged and shipped to them, Mooney said.
If items aren’t sold, they must be donated to local area non-profits, the town policy says.
“We’ve done everything we needed to do to dispose of the assets. We’ve made as much money as we think we could get,” Turner said. “Now we’re giving residents an opportunity to see if there’s anything they may want.”
Any leftover items will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which is opening a Milton location on Route 7, Turner said.
Milton residents may visit the water plant between 9 a.m.- noon on August 11. There will be no parking permitted on Westford Road during this time.
“You name it, it’s there,” Turner said of the offerings.
In the future, the town looks to make the 4,000-square-foot building more usable. The space was once used for water treatment until a partnership with Champlain Water District ended the need for its treatment services, according to public works director Dave Allerton.
Today, there are still two high service pump stations that occupy a portion of the facility; they pump water up Hunting Ridge Lane, Westford Road and Steeplechase Lane, Allerton said.
The pump stations cannot be moved and thus limit how the town can repurpose the space, Turner said.
“There’s not a lot of options for it,” he added.
The plant must remain in the town’s possession and cannot be sold for commercial use. The selectboard will decide its destiny.
“It’s just hard to believe all the stuff that was in there,” Turner said. “But I’m not going to sit here and let it deteriorate anymore.”
With the success of the town’s first auction, Mooney said the police department has brought additional goods to her office for her to list and sell. Turner said Milton residents can stay tuned for a possible auction of four vehicles, which the town has recently replaced.
For now, the plant sits awaiting its future purpose, with piles of town assets awaiting new lives and new homes.