by Tristan Turner

The approval of Morinville News’ annual advertising contract with the Town of Morinville required Council approval Jan. 12. Normally, an administrative decision, the Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA) requires Council approval when the Town enters into a contract with a member of Council.

The Town’s contracts with the publication, which have been in place for five years, have been reviewed annually by Council since Stephen Dafoe, the publication’s owner, got a Council seat in the last election.

The agreement allows the town to advertise up to a total value of $24,066 (including GST) in the weekly paper or on the morinvillenews.com website for their regular announcements and updates, some of which are required to be published in local papers under the MGA. The approved amount is only a maximum, and the actual total may be less by the end of the year.

The approved contract does not include extra advertising that may be taken out for additional one-time advertisements in addition to the town’s regular ad spots, should the need arise.

Felicity Bergman, Corporate Communications Coordinator for the Town, let Council know that the total for the contract this year has seen a decrease compared to the previous year. Bergman said this was due to an increase in the size of Morinville News’ print edition, and modifications of the ad design by the Town to include fewer graphics that will save Morinville rate payers money.

This year’s contract is approximate $11,000 less than the $33,000 spent on print and online with the publication last year.

Bergman also noted the Town’s contract with the Free Press for 2016 is over $33,000 for a weekly print ad.

Council voted unanimously to approve the contract. Councillors Stephen Dafoe and Barry Turner were not present for the vote due to Dafoe’s direct and Turner’s indirect pecuniary interests.

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