Atlantic City Council to Syngenta: Thanks, but no thanks

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council took no action Wednesday on a proposal by Syngenta Crop Products, to develop an advertising campaign with the City, , to promote its “Agrisure Viptera” corn seeds, for local farmers. City Administrator Doug Harris said the company wanted to place advertisements in store front windows, on street lamps, park benches and other such locations. As part of the company’s public relations campaign, Syngenta would have included Atlantic in advertisements targeting local farming communities. The City would have worked with the company to promote town events, living and other attractions, as part of the campaign.

Harris said because the company wants the signs put in-place beginning October 16th (prior to the Council’s next meeting), he said the next meeting would be too late to take action on the proposal, meaning the council would have had to have acted on the request immediately. Harris said the company didn’t come right out and say it would make any donations to the City or local charitable organizations in exchange for the deal. Because of that, and because the City has no policy in place for such an arrangement, he said the Council needed to decide if they should “Shoot from the hip,” and approve the proposal without more information, or politely decline the offer.

Mayor Dave Jones said the “last second,” two-day notice about the offer is not enough time for the council to discuss the matter. Councilman Steve Livengood agreed. Councilperson Kathy Somers said they had received an e-mail from a Syngenta competitor, requesting the Council oppose the offer. Mayor Jones said Chamber Director Megan Roberts informed him the company is looking at four cities in Iowa for its advertising campaign, none of which have offered any kind of response thus far. A couple of those communities, he said, may have been waiting to see what Atlantic’s response would be.

In addition to the Council’s opposition to the short notice of the proposal, City Attorney David Wiederstein recommended they take no action on the offer.