Billboards finally yielding ca$h

KEARNY —

It took five years, a lawsuit and perseverance but it was worth the wait.

Between Dec. 9, 2016, and Oct. 2, 2017, the Town of Kearny has pocketed more than $90,000 in billboard revenues, with lots more expected over time.

The relatively new source of income for the town is the result of the town leasing town-owned vacant meadows properties to outdoor advertising companies.

Those firms constructed billboards on those parcels to promote their clients’ products and/or services. Those billboards can be seen by drivers traveling on highways that parallel the Kearny meadowlands.

A portion of the money realized by the advertising firms gets passed along to Kearny.

The project dates from October 2012 when the town hired AllVision LLC as a consultant to design a plan for developing and marketing town-owned meadows sites for outdoor ads.

In November 2013, AllVision was designated the town’s exclusive licensed agent to build and manage those outdoor advertising sites.

The following month, however, a rival firm seeking that same designation sued, alleging it was unfairly shut out of the bidding.

However, the litigation ended up dismissed and AllVision was left to claim the field, uncontested.

Before the firm could move ahead, it had some bureaucratic hurdles to overcome: it needed approvals from the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to erect billboards on public properties, land use sanctions from the N.J. Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) and building permits from the Kearny construction code office.

AllVision has succeeded with two of its three prospective meadows sites.

One is a double-faced billboard at 700 Harrison Ave. along the N.J. Turnpike’s eastern spur — a half-mile east of Walmart. Southbound motorists can view one “static” advertisement while northbound drivers will be exposed to multiple “digital” advertisements.

For this location, the town collects the following:

  • A payment of $65,000 — payable in annual $13,000 installments for five years.
  • A yearly “base license fee” for 35 years, beginning at $48,750 and escalating each year, to a maximum of $91,000 in the final year.
  • An annual “revenue percentage fee equal to 32.5% of the net revenue derived from [ad sales]” with AllVision to pocket the rest.

Adams Outdoor Advertising was retained as a sub-contractor to sell ads for this billboard.

A second billboard has been erected at 538 Harrison Ave. along the western spur of the N.J. Turnpike and features digital ad views on both faces, marketed by a joint venture of Outfront-AllVision.

For this location, Kearny is to pocket:

  • A payment of $100,000 payable in yearly installments of $20,000 over five years.
  • An annual base license fee, starting at $75,000 and climbing to $140,000 in the 35th year.
  • An annual revenue percentage fee of 32.5% of the net revenue derived from ad sales.

A third billboard site, targeted for a location off Rt. 280, was ruled ineligible by the DCA because it was “too close to another billboard” and, perhaps more importantly, “highly contaminated” with no immediate prospects for a cleanup, according to Gregory Castano, the town’s consulting attorney.

On Sept. 26, the town governing body authorized payment of $30,000 to AllVision as provided for under terms of its contract with the town, representing a guaranteed $10,000 “refund” for work performed on each of the three billboard projects.

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.