BAKER — Bus riders may soon have seating at some of the Capital Area Transit System bus stops in Baker.
The city council voted Tuesday to authorize Mayor Harold Rideau to enter into a contract with Giraffe Advertising to place benches at stops in the city.
If the mayor signs the 10-year contract, it will begin Saturday.
The city would receive 20 percent of the gross advertising revenues from the benches and Giraffe Advertising would be required to maintain the benches and grounds surrounding the seating, including cutting grass, removing graffiti and picking up litter.
The company was willing to give Baker 20 percent of the advertising revenues as opposed to the 10 percent Baton Rouge receives in part because Baker agreed to a 10-year contract. The extra time will allow the company to recoup the money it invests in the benches, Giraffe Advertising CEO Brooke Barnett said.
The Baton Rouge Metro Council approved an eight-year contract with Giraffe Advertising in 2013. Baton Rouge also contracts with National Concrete and Geaux Benches to provide seating at bus stops.
Rideau also has agreed to sign permits for all the benches in Baker, even those located on state roads, making it less likely they will have to be moved later, Barnett said.
Most of the benches placed in the city would be made of coated aluminum and bolted to a concrete slab, eliminating the problem of benches being moved by bus riders or vandals. The type of coating is a durable baked-on material designed to withstand any kind of weather, Barnett said.
Each bench costs about $2,000 to construct and the base price for advertising on the benches is $200 per month. The price varies based on the length of the contract with the advertiser and the number of benches the advertiser wishes to place signs on.
The sample bench placed outside the Baker Municipal Building had already been in place for two years and has no visible damage.
Giraffe Advertising has developed its own design for the benches.
“A lot of thought and engineering has gone into this,” Barnett said.
Concrete benches with aluminum frames will be used wherever the benches may have to be moved, such as the stops where CATS plans to build permanent shelters.
The contract proposal comes following months of talks between the city and Geaux Benches.
After five months of negotiations, the council voted on Sept. 23 to allow Rideau to enter into a contract with Geaux Benches. The company offered the city 10 percent of the gross advertising revenues, but the mayor refused to sign the contract, arguing that the city should receive 20 percent.
During that meeting, Geaux Benches co-owners Carla Smith and Kristi Smith said they offered the same contract to Baton Rouge and they were not willing to give Baker a higher percentage.