Upper Arlington News

Council OKs sale of street signs, memorabilia


Upper Arlington's city manager now has the authority to sell street signs and other non-surplus city memorabilia following the passage of new legislation last week.

Upper Arlington City Council unanimously approved an ordinance June 24 to allow the sale of "personal property," such as street signs and other memorabilia.

Under the new ordinance, non-surplus items can be sold at fixed prices established by the city manager and the city finance director. The measure also paves the way for the city to sell custom-made signs and other city-branded memorabilia upon request.

Although the new law allows the city to sell those items for more than the cost to produce them, they must be priced at less than $500.

That restriction was added after Upper Arlington Mayor and City Council President Don Leach said the city manager shouldn't have an "open-ended" opportunity to sell public property.

"Basically, there's some interest to create signs if we can sell them, sort of a branding opportunity," Upper Arlington First Assistant City Attorney Tom Lindsey said. "The amendment was to make sure something that isn't surplus has dollar value cap on it."

Council passed the new measure without discussion, but members had previously debated the proposal during several conference sessions and regular meetings.

The move was precipitated by City Manager Ted Staton, who told council members last month that a member of the public had requested to purchase a city street sign.

Although Upper Arlington already had a law allowing the city manager to dispose of surplus municipal property by auction, sealed bid or Internet auction -- and which allows him to trade surplus property for goods or services -- there was nothing on the books to authorize the city manager to sell the city's personal property, be it surplus or not, for a fixed-value price.

Subsequently, City Attorney Jeanine Amid Hummer and Assistant City Attorney Thad Boggs provided council with a staff report and proposal June 3 which they said would provide Upper Arlington "further opportunity to receive revenue from personal property that is not readily marketable for sale by auction, bid or barter for goods and services."

At that time, Staton acknowledged that the sale of signs and other city memorabilia likely wouldn't yield a revenue windfall, but, he said, "We'll make money."

Lindsey said the new ordinance won't change how the city auctions surplus property.

Last month, Staton said the city likely would determine fixed prices for non-surplus sale items and publish them, in addition to making the information available at the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.