WILL THERE soon be digital ads on publicly owned property?

A bill sponsored by Council President Darrell Clarke that would authorize ads on city-owned property was overwhelmingly approved yesterday, but Clarke remained skeptical, noting that the city pulled back a request for proposals (RFP) on a similar bill last year.

"The opportunities are limitless," Clarke said. "I would like to see us move ahead, get the RFP out, get a contract done and start bringing in some much needed revenue."

Clarke, who introduced similar legislation more than a year ago, expressed frustration with the Nutter administration for not moving on the idea fast enough.

At a previous hearing, City Solicitor Shelly Smith expressed concerns about the legality of advertising on city-owned property whose construction was funded by bonds.

Under the bill a task force would be created to determine which buildings are optimal for advertising and to ensure that ad content is appropriate.

A consultant for Council estimated the city could bring in $8 million a year from advertising on public buildings, bus shelters and trash trucks. But Clarke said depending on the vendor and contract, it could be much more.

The bill passed 15-0. Councilman Bill Green abstained due to a conflict of interest and Councilwoman Marian Tasco was absent.

In other news:

* Councilman David Oh sponsored a resolution yesterday authorizing Council to issue a subpoena to the Office of Property Assessment to provide the methodology and sample set used to conduct the citywide reassessment. He said the 15-page explanation released last week was incomplete.

* In response to the city's announcement that the Free Library would no longer collect late fees and fines from children, Oh also introduced a bill that would again require the library to collect those fines. The money would be directed toward technology and children's programming.