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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa City Council to consider digital billboards



City Council member Linda Saul-Sena wants Tampa to take a look at the digital billboard deal outgoing Mayor Rick Baker negotiated with Clear Channel. Baker has proposed an exchange rate of one digital billboard for every 10 traditional signs that come down. The plan would allow signs to switch messages every 10 seconds and limit them to the interstates and three other roads.

"If we can cut a deal like that I would seriously consider that," said Saul-Sena, who has long been a champion for making Tampa more attractive, in part by eliminating some of its billboards. Tampa's ordinance would allow one digital billboard for every four traditional signs that come down, messages could change every eight seconds, and they would be allowed on the interstates, nine other roads and throughout the downtown business district.

Saul-Sena said Tampa's attorneys, while very nice, need to be tougher in negotiations with the billboard companies.

The digital billboard ordinance won't come back to the Tampa City Council until December. But on Thursday, they will consider agreements settling lawsuits with billboard giants Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor. The companies can get out of those agreements if they don't like the city's digital billboard ordinance. Neighborhood groups have alternately called those opt-out clauses "extortion" and "blackmail."

Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:16pm]


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