Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Steamboat Springs The City Council said "no" to advertising on bus shelters Tuesday night.
After receiving complaints from residents and realizing the city would have to change its sign code, the council unanimously agreed not to go any further in its look into advertising on bus shelters.
Councilwoman Nancy Kramer, who helped staff research the possibilities of advertising on bus shelters, told the council the issue was DOA Dead On Arrival. She advised not to move forward with the plan.
She said even if the city went forward with the concept, there could be too many city-imposed restrictions to make the business venture profitable.
"It would have diminished (advertisers') interest in being involved," Kramer said.
To go forward with the advertising, the city would have had to modify the sign section in the Community Development Code or request a variance. The city already advertises at the rodeo grounds, ice arena, ball fields and inside buses.
On Dec. 3, the council voted 4-3 to direct staff to put out a proposal that would seek private companies to provide new or additional bus shelters and maintain bus shelters in exchange for advertising on them. The company also would have been asked to give a percentage of advertising sales to the city.
Council members Kathy Connell, Arianthe Stettner, Bud Romberg and Nancy Kramer voted to continue looking into a request for a proposal and Paul Strong, Steve Ivancie and Loui Antonucci were against it.
On Tuesday night, Romberg agreed a request for a proposal should not be put out, but he also did not apologize for his decision two weeks ago to seek more information about a plan that could have boosted the city's revenue.
He said the council had been previously criticized for not gathering or providing enough information on voting issues and council members were doing just that when they requested more information before making a decision on bus shelter ads.
"I want the community to know that in my mind what we we're doing was due diligence, trying to find out about something," Romberg said.
Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord brought the idea of advertising on buses to the council after an outdoor advertising company contacted the city and estimated it could bring into the city $30,000 to $40,000 each year in advertising sales. Outdoor Promotions Inc. would have also paid the $5,000 cost for replacing the shelters and taken over the 500 to 700 hours the city spends each year in maintaining them.
Stettner, who voted to move forward with the request for a proposal two weeks ago, said she appreciated the community's response.
"It was heartening to know how many people care about our commercial and public right of way," she said.
She recommended the city should follow a program similar to the Adopt-A-Highway campaign, where groups adopt bus shelters and maintain them.