A waste of Elk Grove taxpayers' cash in the age of social media

Elk Grove event sign on the southeast corner of Elk Grove and Big Horn Boulevards obscured 
by trees. | 

One of the more curious and wasteful expenditures by the City of Elk Grove over the last several years are two event advertising monument signs. The signs are on westbound Laguna Boulevard between Highway 99 and West Stockton Boulevard and the southeast corner of Elk Grove and Big Horn boulevards. 

The Elk Grove City Council purchased the signs in 2016 to promote community events to motorists. The signs cost about $50,000 with 10-year maintenances costs of $275,000. 

But how widely are the for-fee signs used by civic groups to promote events, and more importantly, how current is the posted information?

A recent review of the signs reveals that ongoing programs like the District56 farmer's market and food truck gatherings at the Old Town Plaza are promoted. The only other posting still appearing on both signs is for an event that happened over four weeks ago.    

While the city does a commendable job promoting events and government meetings through social media, it seems whoever oversees these signs at city hall is asleep at the wheel. Basic marketing and communications principles dictate if the information is outdated, consumers learn to ignore them. 

Additionally, while the sign fee program is designed to be cost neutral for taxpayers, the advertising user fees are significant. Why would a non-profit organization pay up $300 for placement on signs that are barely noticeable when they can more effectively promote for free on social media? 

Furthermore, the locations of the signs are less than ideal. Nearby trees obscure the Elk Grove-Big Horn sign, and the Laguna Boulevard one is in a heavy traffic area where motorists quickly pass them. 

While this expenditure combined with on-going maintenance and administrative costs in the grand scheme of multi-year budgets is small, nonetheless, to paraphrase an old saying about government spending, a few hundred thousand here and a few hundred thousand there, and pretty soon you are talking real money. Taxpayers should be mindful of this with the next hair brain expenditure is conjured by the city council. 

Westbound Laguna Boulevard between Highway 99 and West Stockton Boulevard. 

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Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

If memory correctly serves me, these billboards, along with the wayfinding signs, were part of former Mayor Gary Davis' push to promote Elk Grove as a weekend getaway destination.

Notwithstanding Mr. Davis' foolishness, there are two other problems with these structures that render them useless. First, the panel are too small to read as you drive by, or if you are heading eastbound on Elk Grove Blvd. and you are stopped, they are too far away to be legible. Second, they are not lit, so they are invisible for a large portion of the day.

Since Ms. Singh-Allen, Ms. Nguyen, and Mr. Spease were not on the city council that approved his expenditure, let this be a lesson - use the taxpayers' money with extreme discretion. The other two council members, especially Mr. Hume should have known better.

D.J. Blutarsky said...

EGN's got it all wrong! These signs were built with an eye on future public service. While residents are stopped in traffic gridlock, these signs will contain vital public service information such as the estimated wait time at key intersections ahead; and each of Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen's campaign promised 5-point traffic plan will be spelled out!

Eye on Elk Grove said...

I'm with D.J., back off EGN with your commentary! Next week, the past events will be removed, and in their place, will be billboards with BSA’s picture. After all, this is her town.

Move over Montgomery Gentry. . .


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