WATERLOO — Councilman Ron Welper is promoting a plan to sell advertising on city vehicles as a new revenue source.
But members of the Waterloo Police Department aren’t excited about hawking businesses on their bumpers.
Welper has been working with city staff, local advertising agency Signs By Tomorrow and others to develop a program to sell space on police vehicles, fire trucks and garbage trucks. He projects the idea could generate about $100,000 annually for the city budget.
“There are companies that do this for cities,” Welper said. “We are the ones that need to be making the money here so we’re looking to see how we could do it in-house.
“This is something that I’ve looked at for probably 10 years,” he added. “I just never brought it to council.”
Welper is leaving office in December after deciding not to seek re-election to a fifth term. But he offered to continue working on the vehicle advertising program if other council members were willing to adopt it.
Other cities across the country have adopted similar programs. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, sells advertising on its buses.
“The cities that are doing this … do not allow alcohol, tobacco, firearms or gentlemen’s clubs on any of their ads,” Welper said. “The ads must be in good taste.”
Signs By Tomorrow placed a sample 8-by-11-inch ad on the back of a police patrol sport utility vehicle as a test run.
But Police Chief Dan Trelka said neither he nor his officers were in favor of putting ads on the patrol cars.
“I’m not a fan of it on squad cars,” Trelka said. “It lessens the image, in my opinion, of professionalism. Tacky to have on a squad car.”
Council members received information about Welper’s idea Monday but took no action on whether to follow through with a program.