Milford, Delaware is a town of about 10,000 people located along the Mispillion River. Like so many municipalities, Milford has suffered from aging infrastructure. Half of its streets are said to be in good condition, but another half have been rated as fair, poor, very poor or serious.
Milford is also known for its favorable tax environment. Raising funds to make the necessary improvements has been an exercise in frustration for city leaders.
So imagine the elation when pizza delivery giant Dominos came to the city with a rather bizarre proposition. For just $5,000, it would repair the city’s potholes. All it wanted in exchange was the recognition -- specifically, its logo and the words “oh yes we did” painted next to the repair work.
A little cheesy? Sure. But a small price to pay for critical infrastructure work.
“We saw this as a great idea for our community,” writes City Manager Eric Norenberg in the Washington Post. “Relative to our budget for street repairs, $5,000 is not a small amount of money. Our annual outlay is just $30,000, and we use it to cover crack sealing and other repairs, in addition to fixing potholes. Our city’s general fund is just over $9 million, more than half of which funds our police department. In many communities, there’s a constant competition between paying for police and paying for everything else. Milford is no different.”
Not everyone saw the move as an excellent example of a public-private partnership. Some critics wonder what the collaboration says about America’s infrastructure problems as a whole, not to mention the growing power of corporations. One Twitter user likened the project to a healthcare program financed by GoFundMe.
But they’re probably not the ones driving on Milford’s freshly mended roads.