City of Somerville

Agenda Item
Placed on File
Feb 23, 2012 7:00 PM

Requesting authorization to enter into a contract with City Solutions Inc. to operate a modular news rack program for 10 years.


Department:Strategic Planning & Community DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:Mayor's RequestPurposes:Contract

Official Text

To the Honorable Board:


The City is interested in implementing modular news racks as an alternative to single news boxes in key areas. I respectfully request that you authorize the Administration to enter into a contract with City Solutions, Inc. to operate a modular newsrack program that will extend for ten (10) years. In a separate action, the Board will be asked to approve a proposed ordinance amending the City of Somerville Code of Ordinances, Chapter 12, Article 4, Placement and Maintenance of Newsracks to amend or add provisions related to the installation, maintenance, and management of a modular newsrack program.  In 2009, the BOA authorized staff to solicit a vendor for such a contract for a period of ten years with additional option years.  A publicly advertised Request for Proposals process took place and City Solutions is recommended as the preferred vendor.


Independent news boxes with free and paid publications are prevalent in Somerville’s corridors and neighborhoods.  At times, streets lined with news boxes can be an eyesore and not conform to ADA regulations, creating pedestrian hazards.  In order to enhance current efforts to create a more pedestrian and user-friendly city, the City proposes to contract with a vendor who will install, maintain and manage a modular newsrack program within public rights-of-way. The program will provide a percentage of advertising revenue to the City, in lieu of compliance fees currently received. 


City Solutions is a privately held company based in Santa Barbara, California and has been in the modular newsrack business since 1997.  They currently have newsracks in Indianapolis, Indiana, Columbus, Ohio, and Tempe, Arizona.  City Solutions has demonstrated experience assisting communities in the management of newsrack equipment on public sidewalks.


It is recommended that the Board of Aldermen authorize the Administration to enter into a contract with City Solutions, Inc. to operate a modular newsrack program that will extend for ten (10) years. 




Meeting History

Jan 13, 2011 7:00 PM Video Board of Aldermen Regular Meeting
Jan 24, 2011 6:00 PM  Finance Committee Committee Meeting

This program is being offered to both the city and publishers at no charge. The vendor generates revenue from the sale of advertising space on the racks, none of which would be alcohol or tobacco related, and returns 5% of that revenue to the city. In addition, the city would be provided with advertising space at no cost. Before the program could be implemented, a change would have to be made to the current ordinance governing newsracks.

There was some concern that this program might defeat the purpose of the current ordinance since publishers would not have to participate in the program. Members suggested that the vendor appear before the Legislative Matters Committee to discuss the program in more detail and that the City Solicitor be asked to provide some input. Chairman Heuston asked that the distributed map be updated to show 1,2 and 3 box locations. The committee also requested that a copy of the contract be provided for review.

Feb 22, 2012 6:00 PM  Finance Committee Committee Meeting
Feb 23, 2012 7:00 PM Video Board of Aldermen Regular Meeting