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By STEVE JONES Staff writer


POURING RIGHTS — City soda vending rights contracts have expired and agreements for other vending machines like these at Rome City Hall near the entrance of the building on the first floor seem casual or a distant memory. All are being reconsidered. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

With an exclusive deal with Coca-Cola now expired, the city will soon be seeking proposals from beverage companies willing to pay for the right at city-owned properties.

The city inked a 10-year deal with Coke that expired in February that would mean only the company’s beverages would be sold at city facilities — in the vending machine at City Hall and the concession stand at Kennedy Arena.

This summer, the city will make a request for proposals from companies, and, if there’s interest, will choose a deal that could be arranged as a percentage of sales or flat fees.

Over the life of the Coke contract, and for the several months this year after the contract expired, the city has earned a total of just over $254,000.

Here is the breakdown of revenue the city has received from Coca-Cola over the 10 years of the contract:

¿ 2003 — $17,255.

¿ 2004 — $18,242.

¿ 2005 — $17,638.

¿ 2006 — $12,281.

¿ 2007 — $15,480.

¿ 2008 — $27,497.

¿ 2009 — $15,542.

¿ 2010 — $15,407.

¿ 2011 — $13,636.

¿ 2012 (as of May 12) — $1,143.

The Coca-Cola machine is not the only vending machine in the lobby at City Hall. So what does the city get for the others, the candy machines and those selling small toys and baubles? Currently, said Corporation Counsel Timothy A. Benedict, there is nothing in the city code that regulates this issue.

The city also had a contract with Sweetie Bear’s Vending allowing it to have vending machines at city locations. That deal expired in January of this year, though the company still has its machines in place and still pays the city according to the terms of the deal — a 25 percent commission on all sales at Kennedy Arena and 20 percent of all sales at City Hall and city parks.

There’s a vending machine selling candy and other snacks next to the rest of the machines in the lobby at City Hall, this one owned by Next Generation Vending. The city gets 10 percent of the revenue.

By default, he noted, because it is city property, a company would need city permission to put a machine there. That permission, he said, would indemnify the city against any liabilities.

Whether the city should codify an approval process for putting vending machines on its property is a decision for the Common Council, Benedict said. Laws and Rules Committee Chair Kimberly A. Rogers, R-3, said: "Yes, I think we should definitely look at addressing the vending machines on city property."

In a related move, the Board of Estimate and Contract will review a proposal to enter into an agreement with Seemann Vending & Amusement of New Hartford for coin-operated arcade games for the senior/teen room in Kennedy Arena. The company intends to put five or six machines in the arena. The deal would mean a cut of 25 percent for the city. Also, the city will get a $20 flat fee each time the machines are emptied of money, which will probably be done monthly. The city initially sought proposals from companies to put machines in the arena, but received no replies. After continuing to recruit companies, Seemann agreed to these terms.

RomeSentinel.com

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