PORTAGE | Casey Donley came to the Portage Township Schools surplus items auction Saturday morning hoping to pick up a table saw to replace one on the fritz.
“I'm known as very cheap,” he joked. “I'm hoping I can get them for $50 bucks.”
The Chesterton resident, a co-owner of Re-sawn Relics, plans to use the saw for the business, which builds and restores furniture using recycled materials.
He was among dozens of people perusing items at the schools' bus garage on Airport Road before bidding with auctioneer James Waggoner opened.
Among the offerings: a 1980 GMC bucket truck, a 2000 Ford F-150 pickup truck with plow, a 1991 school bus and Ford vans.
Other highlights included a walk-in cooler/freezer, handicap stair lifts, desktop and laptop computers, overhead projectors, clocks, fax and copy machines, phones, lamps, chairs, pianos, sewing machines, stoves and refrigerators.
The auction was the first held by Portage Township Schools in at least 14 years, said David Harman, director of support services with the schools.
He said schools are legally required to offer surplus items to the public, and anything left over can then be disposed of.
“When it's serviceable, you have to go through this process,” Harman said.
Linda Baessler, of Merrillville, came for a specific item.
“We need a chair lift for our church to help older people up and down the stairs,” she said.
She said her husband, David, planned to bid on one of the chairs, which would go to the Grace Baptist Church in Gary.
While some of the bidders were experienced, others such as Portage Township Schools maintenance technician Frank Colon were hoping for some beginner's luck.
“It's the first time I've ever been to an auction,” said Colon, who came away with 32- and 36-inch television sets for $27.
Chesterton residents Shawn and Robyn Waggoner, the son and daughter-in-law of auctioneer James Waggoner, were looking for some computers for their children and also planned to bid on the F-150 truck.
They followed a sound strategy for bidding.
“You have to do your homework, know what you're willing to pay, and then walk away,” Shawn Waggoner said.