The city's Finance and Personnel Committee on Thursday endorsed signing a contract with a Cleveland firm that, if approved by the Common Council, would be charged with marketing city assets such as parking garages or parks to generate revenue.
The Superlative Group, which has experience working with other cities, would first conduct a study of the city's assets and determine which ones could be vehicles for advertising or sponsorships. The city would have final say on which assets would be offered for marketing or sponsorship.
When the Milwaukee Civic Partnership Initiative was first proposed, city officials said there were plenty of possibilities for generating new revenue through marketing and sponsorship agreements. Examples include trash and recycling receptacles, the city's vehicle fleet, parking garages, parking meters and city-owned buildings. Even city parks and playgrounds, the Milwaukee Water Works or city-run websites could be made available for advertising or sponsorships.
The idea is catching on nationwide. In Chicago, the Metra transit system found a health-care providers to equip trains with defibrillators. Other cities have struck deals with soft-drink companies for the pouring rights at parks and beaches.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company would be paid $40,000, to be paid in two installments. The company expects to begin studying potential marketing and sponsorship assets as soon as next month and report back to the city in a few months.
In the second phase of the contract, the city would then determine which assets to sell. Superlative would be in charge of negotiating contracts with outside vendors.
Superlative would be paid a fixed monthly retainer as well as a commission. Commission payments would be offset by retainer costs and the $40,000 fee.
Assistant City Attorney Margaret Daun said her office would be vigilant about potential legal problems. As an example, the city cannot reach agreement with a distiller and turn down other companies that produce alcoholic beverages. Or if the city decides not to do business with any companies selling alcoholic beverages, it must be consistent if other distillers or breweries want to buy pouring or sponsorship rights.
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