Lincoln pays a mint to give fresh breath to parking patrons

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. — Pay for parking, get minty fresh breath.

A MINT: The city of Lincoln recently awarded a $8,900 contract to a company to provide mints to patrons leaving parking garages. This is a rendering of the mints.

Lincoln recently awarded a one-year, $8,900 contract to a local company to supply 200,000 starlight and butter “hospitality mints” to patrons leaving city parking garages.

Four companies put in bids — two as high as $12,400 — but the contract was won by Infinity Promotions, which had the contract last year. This year, the city purchasing division solicited bids for the mints because the cost went over the $3,000 minimum threshold for triggering a formal bidding process.

City Purchasing Agent Vince Mejer said before his office solicited bids the vendor was threatening to jack up the price by 2 to 3 cents per mint.

He said the money comes out of a marketing fund of parking services, a division of the Urban Development Department.

“I was told they give (the mints) out to patrons,” Mejer said. “How the parking people use their marketing money is not for me to say.”

Mejer wasn’t sure how long this marketing effort has been going on since this is the first time he’s bid out the contract.

Funny thing is, when the mints were discussed on KFOR Radio’s “Coby Mach Show” on Monday, most Lincolnites who called in said they’d never been given a mint when exiting a parking garage. Mach, the head of an independent business group who frequently parks downtown, said he doesn’t recall ever getting a mint, either.

Parking Manager Wayne Mixdorf hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.

Follow Deena on Twitter at @DeenaNEWatchdog

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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