Lawmaker wants ads on Chandler police cars to fix budget deficit

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

CHANDLER – Like most municipalities in the Valley, Chandler is facing a multi-million dollar deficit.

Layoffs and taxes are all being floated as solutions, but one city council member has a different kind of idea that has people talking.

Chandler Councilman Jeff Winninger says, “Last year was bad, this year will be very bad.” As a city councilman, Weninger is tasked with finding ways to close the City of Chandler's $17.5-million budget gap.

Weninger explains, “When the city thinks what can you do to enhance revenue, most people automatically think raise taxes, I think just the opposite.”

Weninger has proposed the city rake in revenue through advertising on freeway billboards and, perhaps more controversially, on city vehicles like police cars and fire trucks. He says he envisions content that is relevant to public safety. He says, “I’m not talking about the movie tin cup with tons of gaudy stuff all over, just a small one foot by one foot advertisement.”

The council member estimates sell space on public vehicles could net hundreds of thousands of dollars and save city jobs that are on the chopping block. He calls it “thinking out of the box,” but a spokesperson with the Chandler Police Department calls it inappropriate saying, “As far as corporate sponsorship, we're not in support of that. There could be issues of confusion or sponsorship issues, as far as who you are going to allow to advertise.”