Treasurer and Tax Collector

Online Auctions

For over 30 years, the Public Administrator (PA) hosted in-person auctions to sell personal property from decedent and conservatee estates. Proceeds from auctions are used to satisfy estate debts and distribute to lawful heirs. In March 2020, when the Governor issued an executive order (EO) restricting large gatherings, the PA was immediately faced with the challenge of balancing its fiduciary responsibilities with mandates imposed in the EO.  Within three short weeks, the PA moved to an online only format, and achieved immediate success!  In the first month, 584 online bidders participated, almost triple the in-person average.  

More importantly, gross sales increased.  Since the change, our online auctions have generated over $1.3 million in gross sales, a 130% increase over the full year average for in-person auctions.  In addition, we strategized with our vendor and developed marketing plans, produced detail-oriented photography to effectively advertise the property and globalized our market while also reducing costs associated with conducting in-person auctions, including facility prep, security, and overtime, saving the Department $30,000 annually.  Online only auctions resulted in an increase in gross sales and a decrease in costs, a win-win for the Department.