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Riverside County First in the Nation; Treasurer's Online Auction is a Cutting-Edge Success.

Business Editors

RIVERSIDE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 8, 2000

The results are in and the Riverside County Treasurer's first online auction of tax-delinquent properties exceeded all expectations, generating over 53,000 hits and 1,700 bids on the luxury desert resort timeshares offered for sale on the Yahoo! Auction web site. The weeklong auction hosted by Yahoo! Auctions, ended Monday afternoon with $160,000 in sales amid a flurry of last minute bidding by future timeshare owners.

&uot;I couldn't be more pleased,&uot; said Paul McDonnell, Riverside County Treasurer. &uot;We collected 100 cents on the dollar for the back taxes owed to the County and its citizens.&uot;

Timeshares are resort properties in which vacationers purchase the right to use these resorts for a length of time each year. All properties involved in this sale were one-week timeshares. Most timeshare intervals saw multiple bids with substantial increases above the opening amounts. One unit opened with a minimum bid of $1,311 and, at the time of the auction's close, had over 65 bids and a final selling price of $5,270 making it the most expensive property sold.

While the online auction generated $160,000 in total sales, the County will retain approximately $85,000. The County can only collect fees associated with the property, such as back taxes, penalties, interest and costs of holding the sale. The remaining proceeds will be distributed to legal claimants.

The success of the Riverside County auction won accolades from other government officials across California. &uot;The Bay Area has long been looked at as the innovators in Internet usage, but we are finding others are leap-frogging past us and Riverside County has clearly done so -- they are on the cutting edge with this one,&uot; said Terry Bursztynsky, director of online services at the Association of Bay Area Governments.

&uot;Riverside County's innovative use of the Internet demonstrates the potential for eGovernment solutions to improve the efficiency and accessibility of Government,&uot; said Bill Jones, California Secretary of State. &uot;It is this kind of pioneering action that will lead California government from worst to first in the 21st century.&uot;

&uot;We fully recognize the enormous marketing power of the Internet and the efficiencies it can provide government agencies. We plan to use it to our full advantage as we move to accelerate the transition of delinquent properties back to the tax rolls,&uot; said McDonnell. &uot;Holding an online auction with Yahoo! saved taxpayers money and increased the public's access to the sale.&uot;

&uot;Yahoo! Auctions is pleased to support Riverside County's entry into the interactive commerce marketplace,&uot; said Tony Surtees, vice president and general manager of the commerce group at Yahoo!. &uot;Because Yahoo! Auctions are free, we are able to provide a valuable and economic platform for governments to extend their reach to the growing global community of the World Wide Web.&uot;

&uot;I applaud the innovation,&uot; said Michael Smith, president of the Californian Association of County Treasurer-Tax Collectors. &uot;If the Internet allows them to do that (collect taxes), kudos to them. That's an interesting approach.&uot;

McDonnell said the online auction would provide immediate benefits for Riverside County residents. &uot;Taxpayers benefit from the revenue generated by the tax sale through increased general revenue for public services such as health, fire and police protection,&uot; he said. &uot;More importantly, this will help set the stage for much broader use of the Internet to serve our taxpayers.&uot;

Yahoo!(R) Auctions has more than 1.2 million listings and is the fastest-growing, globally branded free auction site on the Internet. Through Yahoo! Auctions, sellers and buyers have access to an ever-expanding world of collectibles, a global community, a comprehensive set of tools, and unique programs such as Merchant Auctions, Featured Auctions, Auctions Express, My Auctions Booth and Charity Auctions. Since May 1999, Yahoo! has rolled out 16 international auction services in 11 languages, most recently Yahoo! Taiwan.

Riverside County is nearly the size of Massachusetts and is among the fastest growing counties in the nation. In combination with neighboring San Bernardino County, its economy is larger than 25 other states. The Riverside County Treasurer is responsible for processing approximately $4 billion in annual receipts generated from property taxes, along with state and federal funds received throughout the year. In addition, the Treasurer is responsible for managing a financial portfolio in excess of $2 billion.

Yahoo! and the Yahoo! logo are registered trademarks of Yahoo! Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 8, 2000
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