RP mulling amendments to Veale sign
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By Mira Brody  June 27, 2014 12:00 am

Currently, the city owns 10 percent of the ad space on the new billboard sign visible from Highway 101. 

Each ad is 6 seconds long, issuing the city one ad per minute to use to their liking. Two amendments were discussed at Tuesday’s Rohnert Park City Council meeting: one was regarding new business welcoming usage, and the other involved eliminating exhibit D, or the local nonprofit lists entirely.

“The list was very exhausting and lengthy and would probably have to be amended many times,” said Director of Public Works and Community Services John McArthur. He stated it would be more efficient to simply look up by tax code which businesses were non-profit or not instead of keeping said list in use.

Currently, the city uses the billboard to advertise both local non-profit organizations and event announcements; a good example would be the Holiday Tree Lighting as an anticipated event. Another type of announcement used by the city’s allocated percentage would be announcing new business arrivals in the city, whether or not they are non-profit organizations.

The council agreed this type of announcement would be appropriate because of its generation of business within the city. Veale, who owns the sign, currently has no set price per ad, but negotiates rates depending on how long the buyer wants their ad to run and what it includes. We charge non-profits a reduced price of $200 per week and go through council to get a space.

“The past couple of businesses that have come into our town have had substantial marketing budgets, such as Panera Bread, Starbucks, Walmart and Walgreens,” said Councilwoman Gina Belforte, who voiced a couple concerns with the sign amendments. “To give that away, especially when they’re not buying it, that to me is giving something valuable away.”

“I think that if a business is corporate and wants to get on that sign – and the whole reason we have that sign was to generate revenue – then they should pay for it,” Belforte continued. “I just have a problem with a huge, corporate company getting something for free.”

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