Bill would allow sponsorship of city facilities
Over the past five fiscal years, the cost of operating city government has grown by more than $430 million, or about 15 percent.
Council members Ann Kobayashi and Kymberly Pine believe the time has come for some out of the box thinking to raise revenue, and that’s why they introduced Bill 78, which would allow companies and organizations to sponsor city facilities for a fee.
“The fact of the matter is that we can no longer rely on the taxpayer alone to do what the public wants in our city,” Pine told KITV4.
“Where’s the money going to come from?” added Kobayashi. “You know, we do not want to raise property tax.”
Bill 78 passed first reading during last week’s City Council meeting by a vote of 9-0, which is customary for nearly all new legislation. Under the measure the heads of city departments could sell sponsorship signage without council approval if it’s for a term of less than five years and an amount below $50,000. Anything above those thresholds would require council approval through a resolution.
“It would probably take millions and millions of dollars to get our facilities up to the level that I would like to see them,” said Pine. “Looking at what other cities across the country are doing, they already have sponsorship programs that would allow non-profits, businesses or other organizations to become a partner with the city in multiple different areas.”
However, the sponsors of the bill don’t want the public to confuse the initiative with naming rights. For example, they say you won’t see Ala Moana Beach Park take on a corporate name if the bill passes.
“Many companies do want to be recognized and we realize that, but we don’t want to have this full on advertising,” said Kobayashi.
The Outdoor Circle, which has been safeguarding Hawaii’s view planes since 1912, is now closely watching Bill 78 as it progresses through the legislative process.
“The Outdoor Circle is always concerned when our view plane is threatened, especially when it comes in the form of new legislation like Bill 78 that will make our sign laws more liberal,” said Outdoor Circle President Mike McFarlane. “We are looking forward to hearing from the authors of this bill on the specific sign requirements, visibility, and size.”