Creative use of surplus property becomes more essential as state and local governments face decreasing revenues and lower operating budgets, Carolyn Lloyd, executive director of the Utah Department of Administrative Services, said.

Lloyd addressed the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property at University Park Hotel. Some 36 delegates, representing agencies throughout the United States and in America Samoa, are attending the conference, which continues through Thursday.Last year alone, federal surplus goods passed on to approved agencies totaled $499 million in donated items, Lloyd said.

She said surplus property managers have an opportunity and responsibility not only to respond to agency requests, but to educate officials on the benefits of using the surplus property program.

She said Utah's surplus property agency, a part of Administrative Services, has accomplished many innovative projects, such as providing for the homeless.

The agency has provided not only lodging facilities, but beds, cots and blankets through the Department of Defense bedding program and the General Services Administration, she said.

William A. Arseneau, who heads the Utah surplus property division and who also is vice president of the national association, said his division distributed $9.2 million worth of federal surplus property in Utah during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That includes heavy equipment such as bulldozers, road graders, boats, automobiles, trucks and other vehicles. The agency helped to construct and supplied furnishings for a school at a family shelter in Salt Lake City. Also, equipment was supplied for a dental lab at St. Vincent's De Paul Center in Salt Lake City. Because of the equipment, the center was able to secure the services of several dentists who regularly provide care.

"We're celebrating 41 years as an organization of working for the public good. One of the main reasons we come together at this conference is to help foster better trust and understanding between each other as state agencies and the federal government," Arseneau said.

Utah Deputy Lt. Gov. David D. Hansen, who also addressed the conference, complimented the Utah division on efforts to address the national crisis of homelessness.

He said Utah's problem is much less severe than in other states, which he said must face up to the needs of families and individuals without a place to live.

Hansen said most people have never heard of a surplus property division in state government. Such agencies perform enormous service and save local and other governmental units hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.