Thanks to TPSI advocacy and the foresight of numerous Councillors the January 30th 2012 Growth Management Committee amended a Real Estate Services staff proposal to put out an RFP to secure a third party agent to review the City’s current sign/billboard locations and contracts on City property, and to identify additional sites for outdoor advertising on municipal properties, without involving Council in the final decision making process.
TPSI was concerned that the passage of the proposal as it was would have lead to a proliferation of additional billboards, including LEDs, without proper oversight by Council, public consultations, or community and safety standards to screen them.
TPSI was also concerned about the financial arrangements of the proposal, which requested authority to hire a consultant (an advertising company) for $150,000 to secure additional advertising on City property and to pay for this budget increase with ‘projected’ revenue increases of $150,000 from additional advertising. The City currently generates approximately $137,000 from signs, calling into question the validity and feasibility of the projected revenue increase without a massive influx of new billboards. In addition, there appears to have been a lack of comparison between the minimal revenue increase (theoretically only in future years after the consultant is paid) against billboard ‘costs’ to the community, residential property values, traffic safety, future development, and the aesthetic appeal and desirability of the city to residents, visitors, and tourists. That is, if any additional revenue would be generated at all.
TPSI secured the following amendments that help to mitigate the troubling proposal. While not perfect, the amendments are positive. The TPSI Advocacy Division will continue to monitor developments on this matter.
4. City Council request the Chief Corporate Officer, prior to exercising the authority given in Recommendation 1, to bring forward the RFP scope of work to the Government Management Committee for review and approval.
5. City Council direct that the number of locations be limited to 29.
6. City Council direct that the proposed RFP contain the following provisions:
a. The intent is to review and renew the existing sign agreements to achieve the market value.
b. Any proposed changes to the existing portfolio be in compliance with the Harmonized Sign By-law.
c. The strategy provide opportunities for public consultation and input from local Councillors.
7. City Council direct that the successful vendor shall agree not to take on any client who is applying for a sign on City property while under contract to the City, or for two years after completion of the contract.
8. City Council direct that any further locations be forwarded to the Government Management Committee for approval.
9. City Council direct that the final report of the consultant be presented to the Government Management Committee for discussion.
Government Management Committee Agenda Item GM10.8