Council turns down request for advertising dollars

Rimbey town council has nixed a request to invest more dollars into a marketing magazine designed to promote the town

Rimbey town council has nixed a request to invest more dollars into a marketing magazine designed to promote the town which was supposed to be released more than a year ago.

And it wants money, previously invested, back.

In Feb. 2013, a publishing agreement was signed between TNC Publications and the town. The agreement stating TNC Publications would produce a marketing magazine to be published in June, 2013 was signed by former CAO Tony Goode.

On April 1, Goode issued a letter which was sent to Rimbey business owners which endorsed the project and encouraged businesses to purchase advertising in the publication.

The magazine was not published in June as promised but town records show $1,395 was paid from town funds in November for an advertisement to be placed in the magazine.

This July, despite the fact TNC Publishing was well past its publication deadline, Erwin Jack, marketing director for TNC Publishing Group approached Lucien Cloutier on his first day on the job as CAO for the Town of Rimbey. He asked for an additional $1,400.

Cloutier told him to approach council with his request. In a subsequent email, Jack stated the publication could go from eight to 12 pages if council augmented the $10,600 already received with another $1,400.

At its July 28 meeting, council voted against sending more money to TNC Publishing. They also voted in favour of requesting that the $1,395 already sent to the company be returned, and backed a statement made by Mayor Rick Pankiw the Rimbey RCMP should be notified of the transactions.

“I think it’s absurd (they would ask for more money),” said Pankiw. “And other communities need to be made aware.”

Pankiw said the previous council was not aware of the transactions made between Goode and TNC Publishing, and Goode had made the decision to endorse the company on his own.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Coun. Jack Webb.

Former councillor Gayle Rondeel said Goode wasn’t required to bring the matter up before council as it was an administrative decision.

However, she said as manager of the Rimbey Farmer’s Market, she is in the process of writing a formal letter to TNC Publishing to request money back as the magazine did not meet its required deadline.

Chamber of Commerce president Jackie Stratton said she had encouraged the marketing director of TNC Publishing to refund all the Rimbey businesses their money.

“Eight pages is not enough and it would not look good for the Town of Rimbey,” she said.

Stratton said the Chamber wasn’t going to place an ad in the publication originally, but were encouraged by the letter signed by Tony Goode and the fact that other businesses had purchased advertising.

In a telephone interview, July 29, Erwin Jack, marketing director for TNC Publishing said the company plans to print the magazine at eight pages with the funds received.

“We have put too much time and resources into it,” he said. “I know we’re late, but we are obligated to print something.”

Jack did not state when the magazine would be printed.

“I have no idea,” he said.