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Manchester expected to weigh revenue-raising ideas

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 02. 2014 9:56PM

MANCHESTER — City officials are expected to discuss possible ways to increase revenue, including potential partnerships with area businesses.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall.

Recently, Mayor Ted Gatsas asked city administrators to submit ideas for increasing the amount of revenue coming in to city coffers. Jennie Angell, the city's director of Information Services, suggested the concept of market-based revenue opportunities.

Market-based revenue opportunities (MBROs) are agreements between cities and private companies that provide payments for marketing and advertising using city property and assets.

This broad term encompasses various entrepreneurial concepts, including advertising, exclusivity arrangements, rental agreements and corporate sponsorships. These can produce revenue streams that conform to community standards and aid a city's plans for community and economic development. Cities that have successfully implemented MBRO programs include Oakland, San Diego and Huntington Beach, Calif; Boston; and Seattle.

"There might be some ideas that could be implemented in Manchester," wrote Angell in a memo to Gatsas.

According to a report on MBROs by the League of California Cities:

• A corporate partnership program in San Diego involving companies like Pepsi, Verizon and General Motors, where each company paid for the "exclusive" provider of their respective products and services to the city, netting the community $5 million over the past 3.5 years;

• Huntington Beach, Calif., realized a $3 million annual benefit from corporate partners including Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and Yamaha;

• In Miami, Purina sponsored construction of two "Dog Chow Dog Parks" as part of a marketing campaign, in exchange for promotion rights and a waiver of fees for park events

Funding for schools

In her memo, Angell also suggests the school department should consider MBROs.

"As the school district works to reinvent itself, there is a lot of opportunity for partnering with area businesses," writes Angell.

She suggests approaching city businesses such as Dyn, Comcast, Fairpoint and Harvey Construction that could be tapped to help design, build and pay for possible labs for technology, engineering, manufacturing and health care.

"They will be the direct beneficiaries of the highly trained workforce," writes Angell. "I envision the school district having a STEAM school with a Harvey Engineering Lab, Dyn World Connectivity Lab, Fairpoint Engineering Lab and many others."

Dyn already has a strong partnership with the city, teaming up with the school district and another Manchester company, Silvertech, on the STEAM Ahead NH program. Dyn spokesman Adam Coughlin said his company has yet to be approached by the city to take part in an MBRO program.

"It's an idea we would be interested in discussing," said Coughlin.

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