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Sponsorship deal hits bump in the road

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Taber Times

Taber Recreation Board got an update likely not to its liking on the progress  of Sponsorship Connections and their contract with the Town of Taber on securing sponsorship funding for its various facilities and town-owned assets.

In correspondence issued on Feb. 26 to Rob Cressman, director of community services, Sponsorship Connections cited ‘multiple challenges’ encountered throughout the course of the project as Sponsorship Connections entered into Phase 2 of the agreement after assets were identified back in June of 2012.

Citing obstacles such as the Alberta floods as well as losing staff member (Stephen Furze) mid-stream that was dedicated to the town’s account, Dave Higgins, managing director of Sponsorship Connections noted in his correspondence ‘the sponsorship program has not reached the level of success any of us expected or hoped for at this time.’

In light of the recent success of the local fundraising group for the Taber Spray Park initiative as well as the resource challenge of not having a dedicated account manager, Sponsorship Connections has proposed to extend the terms of its contract by six months to re-focus its efforts.

Sponsorship Connections would also extend the terms of a current contract that was set to expire in June 2015 to a new contract completion date of June 2016. The extension would not involve any additional charges or fees.

“They came back to us and said it’s pretty hard finding someone with that type of expertise. Not being that big of a firm, they said we cannot really fulfill our obligations right now. It’s a pretty specific position to fill,” said Greg Birch, CAO of the Town of Taber, highlighting conversations administration has had with Sponsorship Connections. “There was a dialogue about several possibilities. We said with the shortfall of the position, while you are recruiting, it’s acceptable to us (the hiatus), because we are anticipating with people giving so generously to the spray park that they probably won’t have a lot of extra money to give out to another sponsorship that is recreational based.”

The correspondence was the topic of a closed session of the recreation board during its March 6 meeting under Section 16 of the FOIP Act (Disclosure Harmful to Business Interests of a Third Party).

Exact numbers of the amount of sponsorship funds secured to date by Sponsorship Connections was not divulged by the town given legal concerns in business dealings, but the Times has noted a $10,000 Agrispirit Fund grant that Sponsorship Connections helped secure along with a Taco Time deal.

Given the two phases of the project in the agreement with the town so far, buy-in by the town with the company has creeped into the six digits with funds invested.

“I can’t get into exact numbers, but it’s not enough to cover the costs of the initiative in the first place — not yet anyway,” said Birch.

Birch added the contract time-frame extension with Sponsorship Connections will likely be further discussed at town council’s March 24 meeting.

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