Should the city allow sponsorships as a way to raise money for facilities?
A proposal before the Honolulu City Council is close to being passed but it’s also facing opposition.
The bill has been in the works for about two years now.
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine told KHON2 it’s a way for the city to bring in more money without affecting taxpayers, but a non-profit named The Outdoor Circle, whose mission is to protect the state’s land and beauty for future generations, doesn’t see it that way.
If it’s passed, the proposal would establish a process to obtain sponsorships for city facilities.
Purpose. The purpose of this ordinance is to establish a process to obtain sponsorships for city facilities, parks, programs, equipment, and tangible property within set guidelines and procedures for the purpose of optimizing non-property tax revenue sources.
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said the revenue from sponsorships would allow the city to give back more to the community in places like parks.
“This could help pay for getting the grass greener, help pay for new playgrounds and new playground equipment, this could pay for after school programs that are free for lower income areas,” she said. “This bill helps the city pay for a lot of things that we just don’t have money to do anymore without raising taxes on our residents.”
In return, the sponsors would be recognized on the city website, with a plaque or display at the site, or other possible benefits as negotiated.
The sponsorship has to be earmarked for a particular project In order to get recognition.
But the Outdoor Circle said the bill has a hidden agenda.
“The bill sells advertising, that’s essentially what it is,” Mike McFarlane, a member of The Outdoor Circle, said.
The Outdoor Circle said it’s concerned with the way the bill is written and that it would violate Hawaii’s laws on billboards and advertising.
“What’s written in the bill, it names things like stations which could be rail station. It’s so completely broad,”
Pine said all sponsorship recognition must comply with all city and state laws.
Pine said, “I represent a very low income population so we don’t have the wealthy millionaires and billionaires that are just saying here’s $100,000 dollars, can you fix this park near my house. We don’t have those type of people so how we accomplish things on the leeward coast is you could have a hundred people come together to donate the same amount as that multimillionaire. For where I live, it’s not so much the recognition, it’s teaching a legacy to every child that’s in your family that this family is taking care of this place. This is what our family does.”
The Outdoor Circle isn’t so sure.
“Does the person need their name plastered all over the city property to do that? Don’t people want to help without having their sign on the side of a fire truck or whatever might happen?” McFarlane said.
Pine told KHON2 sponsors would not get billboards or be featured on city vehicles, and she said the type of sponsorship and recognition must be authorized by the city, if this bill passes.
The city did not release a statement on this measure at the time of the post. KHON2 will follow up and add their position when it’s received.