Vendors may get parks, libraries footholds
Written by Scott Blake on July 2, 2014
Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo wants to look at ways to commercialize county properties – for a price.
The commissioner is proposing that the county explore marketing partnerships with the private sector to raise additional county revenue.
The partnerships, Mr. Bovo said, could involve everything from giving vendors special access to public parks and libraries to allowing companies to advertise in designated spaces at county buildings and other venues.
“We have to walk a fine line,” he told Miami Today last week, referring to commercializing public facilities.
The proposal had been placed on the agenda for Tuesday’s commission meeting for a first reading but was withdrawn because Mr. Bovo wasn’t able to attend, so he plans to place it on the agenda for the next meeting July 15.
Mr. Bovo, chairman of the commission’s Finance Committee, said it’s a good time to consider alternatives to raise extra revenue, noting the county’s current financial pinch, which has officials planning about $208 million in cuts to balance the budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.
“We’re going through the budget process,” he said. “We’re not going to raise taxes – the appetite just isn’t there.
“The question is, ‘Are there other ways to raise revenue?’”
It’s not the first time the county has broached the idea.
In 2012, Active Network, a national marketing firm, evaluated Miami-Dade’s strengths for a countywide marketing program and identified marketing opportunities with the most appeal to corporate partners and economic benefit to the county.
The categories included: beverage and snack vending, naming rights, licensing and branding, webpage and “WiFi” ventures, and recycling programs.
The study found that a marketing program covering those and other categories could initially generate $750,000 to $1 million a year.
The study recommended the county contract with an experienced marketing research and consulting firm, selected through competitive bidding, to assist county staff with up-to-date valuations of county assets, and monitoring corporate interest and sponsorship activity for potential leads.
“Compensation for such services would be derived directly as a percentage of revenue generated in a successful marketing partnership deal,” a county memo reads.
Mr. Bovo said he envisions ventures such as giving ice cream vendors operating rights at public parks, allowing coffee and pastry vendors to operate inside public libraries, and permitting companies to advertise on designated spaces at county facilities, among other possibilities.
He said perhaps the county should try a “pilot program” before diving into a “full-fledged commitment.”