Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected on Wednesday to introduce another new revenue stream for the city: selling advertising space on the city's parking pay boxes and trash compactors.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the anticipated ad sales account for some $25 million in anticipated revenue listed as "municipal marketing" in the new mayor's proposed $6.3 billion budget.
Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott told the Sun-Times that the city's 4,700 parking pay boxes, 400 Big Belly solar trash compactors and light boxes operating street lights "have some economic value." The city's deal with Morgan Stanley which privatized its parking meters reportedly left the door open to the city selling ad space on the pay boxes.
When met with concern over whether the ads would overrun the city with billboards, Emanuel pointed to the CTA's sale of advertising space on its trains, buses and other property as an example of revenue generation that also leads to better delivery of services.
"Rather than worrying about that, in fact there are some places where advertising might be a beautification, given some of the things of the infrastructure," the mayor added, according to Fox Chicago.
Emanuel's plan for increasing revenue for the city, of course, consists of many other components, including doubling and even tripling some of the city's fines and fees. He has also proposed a "congestion fee" increasing the charge at certain downtown parking lots, in addition to heightened hotel taxes, water and sewer fees and city sticker rates for all drivers excluding only senior citizens and motorcyclists.
As Wheaton Patch reports, the Illinois House may, as early as Wednesday, approve the mayor's plan to use red light cameras to automatically ticket drivers speeding in "safety areas" near public parks and schools during the state legislature's veto session. While Emanuel has claimed the legislation is about keeping Chicagoans safe, others, most notably The Expired Meter, have argued that the plan would also make for a rather effective cash cow.
Photo by -Tripp- via Flickr.