Steamboat Springs The city is toying with the idea of selling advertising on its bus shelters.
An outdoor advertising company has contacted the city and estimates they could bring in $30,000 to $40,000 in revenue each year through advertising on the shelters. The company, Outdoor Promotions, Inc., would also work out a contract to replace the old shelters, which cost $5,000 each, and maintain them. The city spends between 500 and 700 hours each year maintaining the 11 shelters throughout the city.
The issue will be discussed at tonight's City Council meeting.
The idea of bus advertising in Steamboat is not a new one. Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said a company offered to wrap advertising around city buses a few years ago, which would have saved the city the $75,000 cost of painting the buses.
The council turned the proposal down. But that was when sales tax numbers were healthy, compared to the hiring freeze and 2 percent cut in every city department the city faced this year.
DuBord said the idea is back before the council again after Outdoor Promotions contacted her. The company, which is based out of Fort Collins and has more than 20 contracts with cities in Colorado, proposed to design, install and maintain what they call "transit amenities" bus shelters and the benches that go in them. Under the contract, the city would receive 10 percent of the advertising revenue is addition to saving the cost of maintaining the facilities.
"It is really just the staff looking at every way possible to provide more revenue to keep and enhance the services we have," DuBord said.
Although the revenue is appealing, DuBord said the advertising would appear along Lincoln Avenue and could, and probably will, detract from the efforts to beautify the community.
The city does have advertising on the inside of its buses, on the boards around the Howelsen Ice Rink and at the rodeo grounds.
Tonight's discussion will also ask the council to weigh in on placing advertising on the outside of city buses, benches and recycling bins.
Before a contract is approved by the city, it would have to go through two readings of an ordinance and public comment.
DuBord said the contract would give the city some control over the type of advertising and the design. But DuBord also said the contract would be exclusive and long-term, lasting 5 to 10 years.
"We can say no alcohol, no smoking. We can pretty much say we don't like this or that," DuBord said. "But the greater the control, the less advertising."
DuBord predicts that local businesses and restaurants would be interested in the advertising.