Is City Selling Itself Short?

This week City Council is taking up legislation to identify ways to raise revenue through advertising and sponsorship opportunities. One newspaper report pegged an estimate of expected revenue at a half a million dollars; the ordinance spells out what would and would not be allowed to have naming rights or a placard attached to it.

The Act 47 team, which the City is currently waiting on to see if its guidance will be removed by the state, twice mentioned these sponsorships and advertisements, identifying them as "Market Based Revenue Opportunities" or MBROs and defined them as including "advertising, exclusivity arrangements, rental agreements, and corporate sponsorships". In its first recovery plan in 2004 the team called on the City to inventory facilities, real estate, and other assets and have "MBRO arrangements…in place by January 1, 2005." Based on the team’s discounted fiscal analysis the City would be raising $1.2 million by fiscal year 2009-contrast that with the $500,000 the City expects to generate once the ordinance is put in place, possibly 2013.

Obviously the issue needed to be studied intensely: the Act 47 team wrote about MBRO again in its 2009 amended recovery plan and said that at the time there was no City MBRO policy, no RFP, and thus, no revenue from their estimate. Now the Act 47 directed the City to "implement the MBRO program by October 1, 2009". Again, assuming the ordinance passes, all of the legalities are in line, and some private interest sees a benefit from advertising or buying naming rights for something the City offers up, the City might get a check by October 1 of this year.