From the West Virginia Press Association:
Your county commissions, city and town councils are hearing state plans to allow West Virginia government officials to put legal ads for public notice on a state government website instead of in your local newspapers.
Local officials are being told they will save money; however, the overall financial impact of such a plan could be negative for your counties.
More importantly, we must determine the real cost of reducing public notice by legal advertising to local residents and your community?
Each publication of your newspaper carries many legal ads for public notice, but most aren’t from your local government.
However, if you local officials vote to support this plan, they are also voting to remove all other local and state legal ads for public notice from your community newspaper and your local community.
Examples of actual legal ads running in West Virginia newspapers include:
- Requests for air quality permits
- Public notices for group homes
- Public comment periods
- Notices of intent to sell real estate
- Notices of trustees sale
- Notices of tobacco litigation
- Advertisements for bids on local work
- Notices to creditors
- Family court notices
- Requests for proposals
- Board of zoning appeals
- Landfill public notices
- Lien sales
- Financial statements
- Levy estimates
- Sanitary board actions
- Bid acceptances on oil and gas resources
- Delinquent real estate listings
If you’re not sure what each of these public notices would do in your community, you’re starting to see the problem.
In your community newspaper, you can quickly look at a page full of legal ads that impact your community.
The process on a government website will be much longer and more cumbersome … that is assuming local residents actually have adequate internet service and downloading capabilities. You will need to find each legal ad on the website, guess what the title means, decide if it impacts you, follow the links to load that legal on your computer, and then go back to the start of the listing of the legal ads and start over.
Locally elected officials should keep your legal advertisements for public notice in your community newspaper.
Let your elected officials know: Keep legal ads for public notice in our community newspapers were the we can see them.