OCEANSIDE — The next time you see a city water truck you might also see an advertisement for a local restaurant or window cleaning service, or at least that’s the idea the City Council is considering.
Last week, the City Council gave the go ahead to issue a request for proposals from vehicle sign companies to place ads on city vehicles and give a percent of the profit to the city.
It’s estimated a vehicle advertisement could fetch $250 a month, and placed on 100 city vehicles could generate $150,000 a year in city revenues.
Estimates are based on North County Transit District bus wraps, which earn 60 percent of ad revenues.
The city expects to see between 25 to 50 percent of ad revenues, since city vehicles are not seen as often as public transit buses and would only display advertisements on the vehicle’s exterior.
Monies raised would be earmarked for city programs for teens, seniors and the homeless.
Vehicle signs would not go on city police, fire or ambulance vehicles. All ads would need city approval.
Other details of a city/sign company agreement are purposely left open-ended.
Companies that wish to work with the city are asked to propose ad price, percent of sales given to the city, duration of ads, selection process for ads, installation procedures and other particulars for the city to consider.
“We left it open-ended so we could see what was out there, we’re not entirely sure what we might get,” Michelle Skaggs-Lawrence, city manager, said.
Following the meeting former city manager and current city consultant Peter Weiss said city vehicle ads would be open to most local businesses.
“If the ad was not political, or advertising alcohol or tobacco we’d probably deal with it,” Weiss said.
Oceanside previously tried the idea in the late 1990s.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, who cast the only no vote, said she recalls earlier ads “got negative” and were discontinued because they were not feasible.
She also had concerns about the size and placement of ads.
“I still think this is a bad way to go,” Sanchez said.
The majority of council members were on board with giving vehicle ads a try.
“It’s an opportunity for the city, $150,000 doesn’t mean a lot, but if you dedicate it to Parks and Rec it may mean a lot to a program,” Councilman Jerry Kern said.
One sign company expressed interest at the meeting.
Tracy Missett, co-owner of Missett Sign Company, Signs of Change, said her company would like to work with the city to raise funds for community programs.
“My husband and I wanted to get involved, and give back to the community,” Missett said.
The Missett Sign Company is owned by the son and daughter-in-law of Tom Missett, a partner in BGT Media.
The media company went through a similar request for proposal process to erect a digital billboard on city property as a city revenue generator. A final contract with BGT Media was denied by the city twice. The city is now in the process of adopting an ordinance amendment to ban billboards.
“We canceled the LED signs, this is similar money from outside to take care of things in Oceanside, I support it 100 percent,” Mayor Jim Wood said.
Request for proposals from interested vehicle sign companies need to be submitted by July 8. Staff will evaluate submissions, and bring the top proposal back to council for approval.