Lower the cost of government services

400-NEWSPAPERSWhile a pair of antiquated Florida laws, sections 50.011 and 50.031, Florida Statutes, require certain notices in civil, probate, and criminal proceedings to be published in “newspapers of general circulation”, that requirement does not extend to every public notice under every situation.

City and county attorneys across the state representing local governments exploring ways in which to reduce the expense of publishing legal notices have turned to alternate forms of publication whenever possible.

Why then, in a climate of competitive publications, would the City cling to an unnecessarily over-priced noticing method when that method is not mandated?

Proposed in Resolution 2014-42, one of only a couple of matters of business being addressed during the reorganization meeting of the St Augustine City Commission Monday evening, is the following:

Section 8. Procedures related to appointment of members to boards and committees provided for by City Ordinance.

a) Sixty days prior to the expiration of a scheduled term, a notification of such expiration will be given to the City Commission in the City Manager’s Consent Agenda. A summary of the qualifications and duties applicable to the board in question and a list of current members shall be included in the notification.

b) Following notification, a special advertisement will be placed in the Augustine Record requesting applicants for the proposed vacancy.

Legal advertisements have steadily increased in cost despite the fact that the advertising is reaching fewer and fewer readers.  The ads are one of the last remaining “profit centers” at printed newspapers.

The defacto monopoly, created by legislators whose campaign coffers were fattened by contributions from political action committees representing the Florida Press Association, and others lobbying to subsidize the dying print medium, has been around since before the advent of the Internet.

There is no reason to further exacerbate the situation.  Embrace the realities and economies of available technology to lower the cost of delivering government services.