Morinville News contract brought to Council for approval under MGA requirement

Council Discussion on this story can be found at the 3:46 mark

Jan. 23, 2019

by Colin Smith

A contract for advertising with The Morinville News over the next year was approved by Town Council at its January 22 regular meeting.

The contract of up to $10,000 will cover advertising on all three Morinville News platforms, MorinvilleNews.com, MorinvilleNews.tv and MorinvilleOnline.com, between February 1, 2019, and January 31, 2020.

Council approval of the contract recommended by the Administration is necessary under the Municipal Government Act because of Councillor Stephen Dafoe’s financial interest in it, as publisher of Morinville News.

To ensure that due process is being followed and that the Town of Morinville is in compliance with the act, the administration contacted Alberta Municipal Affairs regarding about the matter.

Dafoe left the council chamber while the matter was being discussed.

Corporate Communications Coordinator Felicity Bergman told Council that the contract with Morinville News is the only ongoing advertising arrangement entered into by the Town, in response to a question by Councillor Sarah Hall. She said purchases of advertising from other local media outlets are made on an as-needed basis.

That represents a shift in advertising purchasing, said Morinville Chief Administration Officer Stephane Labonne.

“We are constantly evaluating all of our ad buys and reflecting that back on the citizen satisfaction survey,” he said at the meeting.

Through the survey, residents provide their views on how they would prefer to receive information from the Town.

“So as part of the Council communications strategy and in line with the Resident Satisfaction Survey we try to be as cost effective as we can,” Labonne explained. “But recognizing that the world is changing and there is more of a reliance on social media and advertising direct to residents.

“We’re trying to find the sweet spot for all our advertising and promotions to get out through the most effective means possible.”

The contract was approved unanimously.

Last January Council approved a Morinville News contract for 2018, allowing spending of up to $9,000.

Bergman said this year’s overall budget for advertising and marketing is $60,000.

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