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Pittsburgh Explores Creative Ways to Increase Revenue

Going green is often thought of as an expense-adding option, but the city of Pittsburgh is thinking of it as one of the ways to raise revenue without raising taxes. Pittsburgh City Council met today with Active Municipal Marketing to discuss different ways to find new revenue and sponsorship opportunities. Pittsburgh has been contracting with the company since 2010. The contract was one of the results of a Market Based Revenue Opportunities Task force created in 2006.

"Our job here is to find unique and different ways to [generate revenue without raising taxes]," Don Schulte of Active Municipal Marketing said. "It's not about big signs."

Schulte said the focus is on access, distribution, bundling the city's assets, and showing companies how to invest in Pittsburgh.

Active Municipal Marketing presented several suggestions on how to subtly advertise Pittsburgh at little to no cost to the city, and one of those was advertising on recycling receptacles scattered throughout the Pittsburgh communities.

"Certainly these types of programs are a huge capital expense," said Aaron Klein of Greener Corners. "Greener Corners takes on that role and sells local advertising and local sponsorship messages that touch upon the green initiative that we're doing."

Chuck Durham, of the Pittsburgh Department of Financial Planning, said an initiative like the one Greener Corners presented is "right on the doorstep," and he would like to see it started right away if possible.

"This is a win-win," Durham said. "It's clean, it's green, and it generates revenue."

The city is obligated to offer bids to different companies similar to Greener Corners that offer the same services. Pittsburgh City Councilman William Peduto hopes to introduce legislation that will implement a revenue-generating plan in Council next month. Active Municipal Marketing also suggested citywide Wi-Fi advertisements, and online forums or smartphone applications that advertise local business' deals.