Ten years ago, the city of Sarasota signed a contract with Lamar Advertising Co., making the company the sole provider of public bus shelters in Sarasota.
The agreement called for Lamar to install 50 shelters. Now a decade later, only 19 shelters have been placed, and three of those are no longer on active SCAT bus routes.
Furthermore, the city has tried to communicate with the company for nearly a year to discuss its failure to live up to the contract and has received no response.
One hour before city staff was set to present these facts to the City Commission, a Lamar executive called the neighborhood and development services department and said it will still install all 50 shelters and wants its contract extended.
According to Mike Taylor, the city’s general manager for planning and development, the company executive cited current economic conditions for failing to install all the shelters.
“I told him that this contract started 10 years ago,” Taylor said.
Commissioners decided to allow the contract to expire and see if SCAT wanted to install in its own shelters.
The city did not lose any money in its contract with Lamar because it called for the company to keep all revenue from advertisements on the shelters to offset the cost of producing and installing them.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].