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In an attempt to generate revenue and savings and to "minimize the perception" that the city has become "corporatized", a city committee agreed on Wednesday to enter into a marketing partnership with Sprint and Toyota.

The two partnerships will bring in approximately $345,000 this fiscal year, leaving the city in need of finding $455,000 additional partnerships to meet budget obligations.

One of those partnerships is with Sprint Solutions. The cell-phone provider will pay the City $100,000 annually for two- to five years, in addition to revenues collected from cell-phone recycling fees offered to city employees. In exchange, Sprint will be featured on the City's website as the official wireless partner and will be able to offer discount plans to city employees.

The second of the two partnership agreements announced during the Budget and Finance Committee meeting was with Toyota. That agreement calls for Toyota to lease the City's lifeguard division 34 new vehicles, saving $245,00 in the first year, and up to $1.1 million depending on the length of the contract. In exchange, Toyota will be named the "official vehicle of the San Diego Lifeguards," sponsor safety events, shoot commercials, and be allowed to market to city employees.

During committee comment on the partnerships, councilmember Emerald said she was interested in finding ways to pass along some of the revenue from the partnership with Toyota to the Lifeguard Division.

Chief Financial Officer for the City, Mary Lewis, was quick to shoot that idea down. "I want to comment on the request to spend this money, we are looking at...a structural budget deficit somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million dollars. So, to restore expenditures is not recommended, at all."

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