Contract could make Pepsi preferred drink at city parks

By Thomas Wilson
Elizabethton City Council may decide Thursday night whether to enter an exclusive 5-year contract with Pepsi to sell the company's beverage products at the city's park facilities where no existing contract currently exists.
The city sent requests for proposals to Pepsi and Coca-Cola distributors in April. A representative of Pepsi of Johnson City submitted a proposal for the contract. The city did not receive a response from Coca-Cola.
Under a proposed contract, Pepsi would install electronic scoreboards -- including materials and labor -- at several city athletic facilities. The Elizabethton Twins would get a new baseball scoreboard at Joe O'Brien Field to tally team box scores, innings, and an out and pitch count display.
Pepsi would also provide scoreboards at the Ladies Softball field and the Cat Island ball park as well as two basketball scoreboards at the Elizabethton Recreation Center on Mill St. The scoreboards are valued at $25,342. The scoreboards would become the property of the parks and recreation department when the contract ends.
New scoreboards rank high with the parks department. Parks and recreation director, Mike Mains, identifies scoreboard needs at Cat Island, the Ladies Softball Field, Joe O'Brien Field and the Rec Center in his needs assessment submitted to the city.
Mains cited the construction of a new press box at the Cat Island field -- which hosts more teams than any other facility in the city park system -- as an improvement the department had recently completed. A new press box is also planned for the Ladies' Softball Field.
Pepsi presently sells products at all city recreation facilities except Lions Field. The field lies on city property but is operated by the Elizabethton National Little League. Cat Island Park is home of the American Little League, which receives all concession revenues at the park.
Pepsi also comprises the majority of vending machines serving city facilities including City Hall and three fire departments. The lone Coca-Cola vending machine at a city facility is located at the city garage, according to the city review of the proposal.
Submitted by Pepsi of Johnson City, the company's proposal places vending machines at indoor gymnasiums, outdoor fields and athletic areas, concession stands and city administrative offices. Products would include Gatorade, All Sport and Aquafina water among other soft drinks offered.
The contract also includes the company's sponsorship of summer recreation programs and free beverage coolers at Joe O'Brien Field.
Council will also consider on second reading whether to eliminate the two percent discount given to citizens who pay their city property tax within the same month in which they are billed. The resolution passed 6-1 last month with Janie Smith McKinney voting no. Eliminating the discount will effectively save the city $20,000. The resolution was factored in to balancing the city's 2003-2004 budget.
In other business, Council is also expected to consider an ordinance adopting the 2003 International and National building codes as part of the Elizabethton municipal code. The ordinance includes an update of building, electrical and plumbing codes as well as fuel gas and residential dwelling codes.