UTICA, NY - The city blew it in 2007 by buying an $85,000 snow blower vehicle that has never been used, some Utica officials said. Now, the city is listing the vehicle for sale on the Web site eBay through Oneida County’s page, according to the Observer-Dispatch.

The minimum sale price isn’t listed on the Web site, but the Utica Common Council approved a resolution to sell the vehicle for no less than $60,000.

Richard Conte, Department of Public Works (DPW) commissioner, said the vehicle hasn’t been used other than to move it into storage. The large vehicle can blow snow 150 feet and isn’t meant for a city setting, he said. Conte said this type of vehicle typically is only used in rural areas. The state uses them mainly only for blowing snow into the canal, he said. Buying it “definitely” was a mistake, he said.“If I didn’t use it this winter, I don’t know when I would ever use it,” he said. “It’s just not something we really have a use for.

”The eBay listing describes the vehicle as an 8-foot, 170-horsepower Snocrete snowblower purchased as new in December 2007 and never used. There have been several bids on the item, but the highest bid was $13,300, which doesn’t meet the minimum bid or “reserve price” that would require the city to sell the item, according to the Web site. In 2007, Timothy Julian was the mayor, and Bill Schrader was the DPW commissioner. The Utica Common Council also approved the purchase, officials said. Julian said he doesn’t know why current officials can’t use the vehicle, but the idea was to make it simpler and quicker to clear snow by using the vehicle to blow snow into dump trucks.

Utica Mayor David Roefaro said the vehicle blows snow too hard to be used on city streets. Picking up the snow with Bobcat loaders is more effective, he said.“They may have had a good reason to buy it,” he said, “but they haven’t used it in the DPW since they bought it.”