City shifts University District Safety Initiative communications plan

No set budget for communications in 2019, City says 

The City's communications budget for the UDSI was $1,000 in 2018.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
Kingston "demolished" its University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) communications budget for 2018 on one month of signage on campus, according to emails obtained by The Journal through a freedom of information request. 
 
In the summer of 2018, the City of Kingston booked tripod signage with Curbex Media to advertise the UDSI at Earl St. and Aberdeen St., the Campus Bookstore, and the intersection of Union St. and University Ave. The signage was installed ahead of Orientation Week, and was scheduled to come down on Sept. 28. 
 
In an email dated Sept. 18, communications officer Cindie Ashton asked Amber Bryant-Peller, special assistant to Mayor Bryan Patterson, whether the City would be going ahead with the removal of the signage or renewing until Homecoming. 
 
“In a perfect world yes, but I didn’t realize we’d be footing the full Curbex bill the last time, so I kind of demolished our UDSI budget,” Bryant-Peller replied. 
 
In a written statement to The Journal, City of Kingston Communications Officer Mark Nardi said the UDSI had a communications budget of $1,000 in 2018. “The cost of the Curbex signage was $671.22,” Nardi wrote. 
 
Nardi also told The Journal that in 2018, it was always the intention of the Mayor’s Office to have the signs displayed for one month. 
 
“Curbex, the company responsible for the signs, as a courtesy, regularly offers to extend the length of time signs are displayed,” he wrote. “The internal budget concerns were a miscommunication clarified in further conversations. The City did not extend the signs as they were part of a campaign involving multiple departments that included welcome back signage.”
 
Nardi also said that in 2019, the UDSI campaign project was moved from the Mayor’s office to the Bylaw Enforcement & Licensing department, changing the budget’s structure.
 
While the Bylaw Enforcement and Licensing department has an annual budget of $19,000, Nardi told The Journal the UDSI funds for 2019 were not drawn from that budget.
 
“When the UDSI moved out of the pilot phase and was taken over by Licensing and Enforcement, the decision was made to augment our communications strategy,” he wrote. “As a result, the Licensing and Enforcement Division opted to work with community partners to use social media and print material.”
 
Nardi said that between coverage generated by a pre-Homecoming news release, the social media posts and printed posters that were distributed on campus, the Licensing and Enforcement Division was not required to draw upon that shared $19,000.
 
“The City is committed to responsible budgeting and, wherever possible, we leverage our social media audiences and pre-existing community partnerships to achieve effective communications results,” he wrote.  
 
In an interview with The Journal, Kyle Compeau, manager of licensing and enforcement, said the City has been changing its UDSI outreach approach this year.
 
Aside from working with the University to place posters advertising the UDSI in Queen’s residences, Compeau said the City is also reconsidering placing signage at street corners, which are directed towards motorist transportation.
 
“We felt that a Curbex sign directly related to a motorist was maybe not the best appropriate way to message,” he said. 
 

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