Something Democrats and Republicans can agree on: Move public notices to the web

In yesterday’s StarTribune: Time may be right to move public notices to the Web. Governments want to save cost of running them in newspapers. Opponents say public will be harmed.

The law requires notices in newspapers of board proceedings, tax levies, forfeited properties, financial statements and project bids. Against the rising tide of Internet use, many see dumping newspaper notices as a cost saver whose time has come.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, has introduced a bill to let local governments skip the papers and publish such notices only on their websites. Drazkowski, who is leading a GOP charge against several state mandates, said using websites will help jurisdictions make up for cuts in state aid. "This is a way to allow local governments the freedom and flexibility to do the best job they can," he said. The bill has six sponsors, including Bloomington DFLer Ann Lenczewski. It has not been introduced in the Senate.

Public NoticeBill Name: HF0162. "Political subdivisions authorized to publish proceedings, official notices, and summaries on their Web sites in lieu of newspaper publication."

Anyone know how much the City of Northfield, the Northfield School District, and Rice County pay the Northfield News to publish public notices every year?

One Comment

  1. Fred Mark said:

    Our local governments are broke. In a perfect world we would publish notices on radio because there is an underserved part of the community that can not read. But that would be ridiculously expensive. We have to make choices based on cost. Luckily there is a solution. Look at this site .

    It is FREE-You don’t have to subscribe to a newspaper to receive the notices THE NOTICES COME TO YOU-. No more hunting for notices in the back of the newspaper. They e-mail alerts based on preference of both type of notice and locality. (“Please e-mail me whenever there is a zoning hearing in Camden”. Set it up once and forget it. -IMMEDIATE-The local government doesn’t have to wait for the notice to be published in the newspaper for it to be published on line. The government employees can upload it straight to the site. -BETTER DISCLOSURE-They link to the original documents (zoning maps, bid specifications, providing way more information than a notice in print. In addition, they map to the localities-DOCUMENTATION- they provide affidavits of publishing. -GREEN- No cutting down trees to publish these notices. -PERMANENCE- The notices stay on line forever.

    In newspapers, they are published in a few editions and then are gone. COST SAVINGS- The local governments will save 90% of what they spend in notices. The newspaper’s publish the notices for only a few weeks.This issue is playing out all over the country. Read this site Newspapers do a lot of things really well. But so do a lot of businesses. It doesn’t mean as taxpayers we should overspend for a service that is now inferior.

    February 23, 2011

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