Aug 16, 2011 at 03:13 PM
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New Biz: Two New Cities Consider Sponsorship RFP's

Update: One of our readers pointed out this poll, which with nearly 1,000 votes gives an idea of the public's appetite for private sponsorship of public facilities. Seems Calgarians are either strongly in favor or strongly opposed, without much apathy in between. 42% say it's a great idea, while 28% are against.

Like moths to a flame, city councils throughout the country are turning to sponsorship as a possible means of supporting costly municipal development and upgrades without raising taxes. While the plans get plenty of press and public attention, it seems few as of of yet, have met the revenue expectations after the fact. Nevertheless, two new cities announced yesterday that they were considering entering the fray: New Orleans and Manchester, New Hampshire.

"I believe we have the chance to market and sell everything from advertising on local governmental access (cable TV) channels to potentially some naming rights for some of our city-owned buildings to a whole slew of inventory, " New Orleans City Councilman Arnie Fielkow said after his proposal to explore sponsorship was approved by the Governmental Affairs Committee.

In Manchester, NH, the new Municipal Complex, which will include the Public Works and Police Departments headquarters and vehicle storage, maintenance, shops and salt storage buildings, comes with a steep price tag: $43.5 million. As such, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen are considering a request for proposals from companies interested in buying naming rights to the new facility.

Some Manchester Alerdman, such as Dan O'Neil, expressed opposition to the plan.

“I have been opposed to putting ads on police cruisers and garbage trucks. It's the people of Manchester who own those,” said O'Neil. “There's a difference between the Fisher Cats stadium and the Wireless Arena. It's people other than Manchester residents who use those. I wouldn't consider naming rights to a police vehicle because they paid us a million dollars. At some point you cross a line in naming rights and I think this is one of them.”

Where would you draw the line when it comes to selling municipal assets as a part of a public-private partnership? Leave your thoughts below.