Newburgh to auction abandoned cars – Times Herald-Record

Posted: Monday, September 19, 2016

CITY OF NEWBURGH – Some are battered, but others are merely blemished. Among the rundown are some ready to run again.

A Mercedes SUV and BMW and Lexus sedans.

Hondas, a taxi, ATVs and a surplus City of Newburgh police car.

“There’s a couple of Cadillacs up there,” Public Works Commissioner George Garrison said.

Bumper to bumper and side by side, a sea of abandoned cars fills two impound lots outside Newburgh DPW’s garage on Pierce’s Road.

Garrison and police Chief Dan Cameron have watched the mass grow as falling steel prices cut the price-per-car for crushing in half.

Now Newburgh is about to take a step other municipalities, like the Town of Montgomery and Poughkeepsie, have taken to shed cars whose owners have walked away.

On Monday, the City Council approved an agreement with East Aurora-based Auctions International Inc. to soon begin auctioning abandoned cars and surplus city vehicles online.

The agreement comes at no cost to Newburgh, and is expected to not just clear space at the overcrowded impound lots, but also generate revenue.

“It’s pretty much at capacity,” Cameron said of the impound lot. “We believe it (the agreement) will help us.”

Some of the cars – like a Chrysler Crossfire registered in the South – have been sitting unclaimed for years.

In some cases, owners have failed to pay towing fees – $125 to $150 – or storage fees that accumulate at $50 a day.

A contractor once hauled equipment to the DPW to crush cars on-site, but falling steel prices cut the price-per-car Newburgh received from $150 to about $75, Cameron said.

The backup at the lots is preventing police from towing abandoned cars and cars parked illegally during emergencies, he said.

“Some decent cars sit there, and no one ever claims them,” Cameron said.

Cars will be sold “as-is” and the buyers will pay a percentage of the sales price to Auctions International.

While Newburgh has no cost, the city will be required to provide titles and other proof of ownership for the buyers.

And while Newburgh will still return to crushing some cars, Garrison estimates that the lots hold 40 to 50 cars that are of auction quality.

“Instead of getting $150 a car, we could probably get $1,000,” he said.

-lsparks@th-record.com

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