Councilman Weiner only vote against ads on county website
"The County exposes itself to freedom of speech lawsuits when some massage parlor is denied the right to advertise. Conflict issues are myriad" said Weiner
NCCo County Web site may be up for sale
By Jesse Chadderdon
Posted May 13, 2009 @ 11:21 AM
Last update May 13, 2009 @ 04:04 PM
Wilmington, Del. —
First, there were the classifieds. Then, the yellow pages. Now, the age of Internet Craigslist. But could New Castle County's Web site join them as an outlet for advertisers to pedal their wares?
If Councilman Timothy Sheldon (D-Pike Creek) has his way, nccde.org could be home to ads -- something he said could bring the county much needed revenue at no cost to the taxpayers.
Council voted 12-1 at its May 12 meeting to approve Sheldon's resolution to request that administration officials look into the logistics of advertising on the Web site, but not before several council members expressed reservations.
"Even if there's a disclaimer that New Castle County does not endorse the advertiser, it would be inferred by the public that there is some endorsement," said Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Chatham), who voted against the resolution.
Sheldon said the Web site received 135 million hits last year, and although that number includes search engine pings and repeat visitors, it makes the site an attractive destination for local advertisers, he said.
"It would be another way instead of raising taxes alone that we could get some money into the county," Sheldon said.
Councilman William Tansey (R-Greenville), who ultimately voted in favor, shared Weiner's concerns.
Sheldon said he recognized there could be ethical and legal questions about the types of companies that advertise, and whether their presence on the Web site intimates a conflict of interest if the company in question is a county vendor, but said it's worth researching nonetheless.
New Castle County Chief of Staff Nicole Majeski said the administration would look into online advertising, as well as whether private donors who sponsor county events or pay to maintain parkland could post advertising there.
Civic leader Martha Denison lauded Sheldon and urged others on the council to think outside the box.
"This could be the beginning of more innovation to find ways other than raising taxes to find New Castle County revenue."
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