Tuesday evening the Culver Town Council considered the resolution creating an Electronic Sign Policy pertaining to the new sign placed near the intersection of State Road 10 and School Street.
The Town of Culver received one of six electronic message board signs through a combined effort with Marshall County, local municipalities, and Marshall County Tourism. $150,000 in OCRA grant funding was received by the county in 2020 to purchase and install LED message boards for six locations in Marshall County. The message boards are being used to display information related to emergency responses, traffic, public health, as well as general community and event information.
Each community has been encouraged to create their own policy on how the sign can be used and by whom.
Culver Town Manager Ginny Munroe and Town Clerk Karen Heim have been working on the policy. During the meeting Munroe said because the signs were acquired through a joint effort with both Marshall County and County Tourism the town is obligated to allow them to post on the electronic message boards. Their messages will likely be about the pandemic, emergency situations or area events.
Trying to detail the other types of announcement Munroe said, “ It can have informational announcements from the Town of Culver, Culver Community School Corporation and Culver Academies, announcements for community events including festivals and park events, county wide announcements and Marshall County Tourism announcements.” No personal messages will be permitted such as Happy Birthdays or Congratulations; or smaller non-profit events and faith based events because there are so many. Munroe said the content of the message must be approved. She also noted that generally there will only be one message per event, promotion or activity will be allowed and there will be a definitive amount of time the message could be posted with the maximum being a month with town approval.
Munroe said cross-promotion from events in other communities is the plan.
Town Council member Bill Cleavenger said he felt having a message on the board for a month was too long a period and suggested two weeks. Karen Heim said they have flexibility to schedule promotions only on certain days, noting they have been promoting the meals at the school which is only running on weekends. At that point Cleavenger said he was agreeable.
The Culver Town Clerk said she believes they are paving the way with the policy, commenting they asked the other communities and no one had anything in place.
Councilman Rich West asked if there was a commercial opportunity and Munroe said, “With an OCRA grant, for the first five years of that project you can’t profit off it to a certain extent. We could charge for messaging as long as we don’t make over a certain threshold of money on it. I don’t know what that threshold is for this project because it is a low-cost project. On a brick and mortar it’s $35,000. Because it is supposed to target LMI, low to median income, population you aren’t supposed to make a lot of money on it. When the 5-year is up, it’s free game.”
He also questions maintenance and electrical costs and thought that might be a way to cover those costs.
The Town Attorney Jim Clevenger said there is a process for approvals but not denials. The council tabled action on the resolution pending additional information.