City wants to sell bricks at a 36 percent markup
In spring 2010, I wrote a story about the city of Champaign's massive, 292,000-brick stockpile and their repeated assertions that they wouldn't dare sell their pavers.
But now they're saying exactly the opposite -- at Tuesday's city council meeting, representatives could give administrators the green light to auction off up to 150,000 bricks, which they use to maintain the city's historic brick roads.
That's roughly half the city's pile. City officials bought 292,000 out of an East St. Louis brickyard, but they think they may actually have received 10,000 or 20,000 more than that.
At 55 cents per brick, officials paid roughly $160,000 for the pile. Now, they think they can sell them for about 75 cents per brick. That would add about $112,500 to the city's brick road maintenance fund and represent a 36 percent profit since the 1999 purchase.
The current stockpile stands at about 222,000 bricks. City officials say it costs about $300,000 annually to maintain the city's brick roads, and they use 2,000 bricks per year in doing so, according to city documents.
There's a cost to holding on to those bricks, too. They're stacked on wooden pallets, and exposed to the elements, sometimes the stacks fall over or the pallets break. When the city demolished the Meadow Gold building a few years ago, they had to restack and move 68,000 bricks. The city contracted with PACA to restack them, which is no easy task. Each brick weighs a few pounds, and you would definitely feel it in your forearms at the end of the day after you pick them up a few thousand times.
The cost to restack the pavers at that time was about 13 cents per brick, but the city actually gave 16,000 bricks to PACA in lieu of cash. This year, the city contracted with Hayes Landscaping Services to restack 85,000 bricks at a cost of $15,500.
If the city sells 150,000 bricks through an online auction, that will leave officials with at least 72,000 to work with. Administrators think that will last them at least 35 years.
So, if you need some bricks...