Triadwatch did a public records request with the Guilford County Legal Department in regards to public notices in local pay newspapers. One of the questions asked to the Guilford County legal department was this;
On March 23, 2011 in section C of the Greensboro News and Record there was a tax delinquent part of the paper that consisted of over 20 pages of tax liens from the . I would like to know specifically how much this 20 page part of the paper cost the taxpayers of Guilford CountyRobin Keller Paralegal with Guilford County got in touch with the finance department and this is what she e-mailed me back with;
"Regarding your question concerning the cost to run the delinquent tax listing on March 23, 2011, in the Greensboro News and Record, the amount was $86,740.29. I was also informed by our finance department that some or all of this cost is reimbursed when paid through an advertising fee that is added to the delinquent bills."
The finance department says that some or all of this cost is reimbursed but to me this is a wasteful use of taxpayers money. Does anyone really care about the tax delinquency in Guilford County? Should the county have a up to date database online for all to see on a daily basis for tax delinquency? I also found out that not only was this $86,000 invoice in the Greensboro News and Record but it was also in the High Point Enterprise as well and will update as to that amount as well and if the 2 papers are similar in costs than this bill could be doubled to $172,000.
Public notices in local papers consists of a variety of issues from foreclosure notice, general legal notice, notice of creditors, notice of hearing, , notice of sale, and request for bids. The public notices request was also sent to the City of Greensboro which has provided me with a lot of information in regards to the Carolina Peacemaker and the Greensboro News and Record. In future post this week i will show you just how much money it is costing the taxpayers of this county and the city of Greensboro to advertise in the local papers of choice which is Carolina Peacemaker and Greensboro News and Record.
One of the main reasons to bring up this issue of public notices and the wasteful spending of taxpayers money on a weekly basis is because there are some bills in the North Carolina Legislature who want to keep up with the technology age and do away with this expense. One of the bills wants public notices shown electronically online this bill is called CITY/COUNTY ELECTRONIC NOTICE #472 CLICKHERE and there is also the same bill on the Senate side of the North Carolina Legislature Senate Bill #773 CLICKHERE
We have seen all over this state the local newspapers write editorials to keep this taxpayer funded money pit flowing to the local newspapers. We also had the Greensboro News and Record with help from the N.C. Press Association display a full and half page ad titled "Would you let a fox guard your hen house" CLICKHERE and it is the middle ads opposing house bill #472.
We also see a few more bills that are being considered at the state level for example
House Bill #307 Local Electronic Notice ,
An act to allow the county of Wake and the towns of Cary, Clayton, Wendell, and Zebulon to use electronic means to provide public notice in lieu of publication.
House Bill #361 Currituck Electronic Notice,
An act to allow Currituck County to provide electronic notice of public hearings
The reason for this post was because as we see from the Greensboro News and Record Editorial titled "Help Public See Notices" CLICKHERE . They never once said how much this information is costing the taxpayers of Guilford County . After that editorial it was apparent that a public records request was in order and in the coming week we will post the pdf files on the invoices for the past year and a half in regards to the Carolina Peacemaker and the Greensboro News and Record .
As we see with the tax delinquency bill of $86,720.49 this is just one of many public notices that are costing us plenty over a years time and this could be handled in a manner on city and county web sites all over this state with parameters in place that will make the hen house more transparent and not costing us money to put in local newspapers .
Below is Part #1 of 6 documents that will be discussed this week in triadwatch in regards to this issue because it is time the local newspapers get off the government trough .
Public Notices 1 Carolina Peacemaker