Monday, November 7, 2011

$449,511.19 Wasteful Spending of Taxpayer Money on Public Notices in Paid Print Media

Ever wondered if some Greensboro Political races were rigged
by those who want to keep undisclosed taxpayer subsidies?

Triadwatch did a public records request for information on just how much taxpayers money goes to our local paid print media due to the fact that we have a state law that allows only the paid print media to have a monopoly on how the state, county and local municipalities  can show public notices to their constituents.

$449,511.19 is the total amount as of today that we have gotten from the records request from Guilford County, City of Greensboro and City of High Point . Let it be known that we also have other municipalities in this county who also have to abide by this law in places like Jamestown, Pleasant Garden, Summerfield, Stokesdale, Gibsonville, Oak Ridge, Sedalia and Whitsett. Triadwatch will try to get in touch with these municipalities in due time.We can also add that the Guilford County Schools are also under this law as well and see plenty of request for bids in the Greensboro News and Record on a weekly basis.

Here are a few links to  post in regards to public notices in paid print media from the past few months on TRIADWATCH.

-$218,775.13 is Amount Guilford County Taxpayers Waste on Public Notices in Greensboro News and Record

-$49,347 City of High Point Wasteful Spending on Public Notices in High Point Enterprise

-$96,288.47 City of Greensboro Wasteful Spending on Public Notices in Greensboro News and Record

-$31,665.96 City of Greensboro Wasteful Spending on Public Notices in Carolina Peacemaker

-$86,740.29 is the Amount Guilford County Taxpayers Paid For Tax Delinquency in Greensboro News and Record on March 23, 2011

 We also heard from our local conservative weekly paper in Guilford County called the Rhino Times  here is what John Hammer had to say in a article titled "Numbers Do Lie: City Budget Really is Smaller" CLICKHERE

"The council also discussed several bills before the North Carolina state legislature, including one that would allow cities and counties to place public notices on their own websites, instead of being forced by law to advertise public notices in newspapers with over 50 percent paid circulation.

Assistant City Manager Denise Turner said this would save Greensboro about $120,000 a year, but she was corrected by Wade who said the figure was closer to $300,000. Turner later agreed the figure was probably higher.

Imagine there are 50 tire stores in Greensboro and there is a state law that says the city has to buy all the tires for police cars from a tire store with a 100,000-square-foot showroom on a six-lane highway. Does anyone think that would be fair? It's similar to what the current law does.

There are many effective ways to advertise – paid circulation newspapers are one, so are free circulation conservative weekly papers, direct mail, radio, television, outdoor advertising, robo-calls and sandwich signs, to name a few. According to state law, there is only one way to advertise a public notice and that is in a paid circulation newspaper, even if there is not a paid circulation newspaper in the entire county.

It is a law that provides millions of dollars worth of noncompetitive advertising to paid circulation newspapers across the state, and a law that in these economic times the state can certainly do without."

It is good to hear from a weekly paper  but we also have a situation in Guilford County where our other weekly newspaper in Yes!Weekly is propping up the ads from the North Carolina Press Association, here is a link to their main web site and look in bottom right corner CLICKHERE . On the Yes! Weekly web site you will see the ad saying "would you let a fox quard your hen house?" The only reason i see Yes! Weekly doing this is because their main company is Womack Publishing who has papers from caswell county to orange county to also having a local paper in Jamestown News.Triadwatch will try to do a public records request to see how much taxpayers money is going to the Jamestown News or let's see if Ogi Overman the editor will tell me if i ask him.

The North Carolina Press Association has been on an all out war in regards to these bills on the state level , check out what the association had to say in this newsletter from their web site on May 19, 2011 CLICKHERE 
NCPA goes to battle again over public notices

The public notices battle, which played out in NCPA’s favor last week in the House Government Committee, rages on. The same committee had scheduled a hearing for today on a local bill aimed at allowing Wake County governments in Cary, Clayton, Wendell and Zebulon to put notices on their web sites. NCPA and member publishers from around Wake County have teamed up to tackle this bill. NCPA beat back a similar local bill, aimed at Currituck County, a few weeks ago. Watch for updates. NCPA papers won a major skirmish last week when a squad of 15 publishers and top editors gathered to lobby and appear en masse before the House Government Committee on May 12. Despite more than a dozen speakers and legislators taking the floor to testify for HB472 (and a team of the bill’s backers staring down committee members as the vote began), the committee voted 21-10 to kill this bad bill and keep the public informed. Efforts are under way now to kill the Senate version of that statewide notices bill, SB773. Contact your local senators and ask them to vote against this bill if it comes up in committee.

This North Carolina bill either needs to be retooled or simply redone because to me it would make more sense if we are going to allow more people to see the public notices  then the weekly free papers like the rhino times and yes weekly should also have the opportunity to has a shot at these public notices. I see plenty more opportunities to get a copy of these weekly papers then i ever had a chance of getting a paid copy of the Carolina Peacemaker which only is in the african american community.

The North Carolina House and Senate bills in regards to electronic notices if they do go down in defeat need to come back with some alternatives . For example I for one could care less about the $86,000 bill to Guilford County citizens in regards to tax delinquency that was a 20 page part of the Greensboro News and Record. It would be great if we could get some assistance from our county officials along with our Guilford County delegation to bring up a local bill that would alow the county to not have to put this public notice in paper but could offer it online for any citizen to see the tax delinquency  and if anyone wants to request a copy please inform the county clerk and they can mail you out a copy or if you have a computer then they can e mail a copy. This one thing could save the taxpayers of Guilford County $86,000 and also they said that it was also published in High Point Enterprise but with the invoices that were sent i could not decipher which bill it was. Let's be conservative and say that if we did away with just the tax delinquency as a part of public records in paid newspapers then we could save close to over $100,000  just in Guilford County.

More to come on public notices and what is happening in North Carolina in regards to the bills that were filed. Hopefully we will see the state representatives understand how technology is there to help this process and save taxpayers money all over this state.

Keith Brown

No comments: