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Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 18, 2010

Contact: Samantha Harkins
517-908-0306 / e-mail

Communities Could Save Money on Public Notices under New Legislation

Bills Would Allow Communities to Issue Public Notices Online Instead of Print


LANSING, Mich.— Michigan communities could save money with legislation introduced Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 that would allow them to issue public notices online instead of in print publications. The measure, advocated by the Michigan Municipal League (MML), would improve the effectiveness of public notices given that market demands and cost-cutting measures are forcing media outlets to supplement/replace traditional newspapers with online e-news.

“This is a chance for the legislature to save the taxpayer some money while creating greater transparency in government,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League.

The city of Romulus budgeted $25,000 for public notices in 2009 and spent $20,000.

“Local communities like Romulus are doing everything we can to tighten our belts, protect jobs and save taxpayer dollars – and this proposal will help communities save money,” said Romulus City Clerk Ellen Bragg. “This legislation is a step in the right direction, especially in these tough times when all local communities are struggling. We applaud Rep. Doug Geiss for working with the Michigan Municipal League and legislators on both sides of the aisle on this proposal. This plan will give local governments across Michigan an important tool to save scarce taxpayer dollars while keeping our citizens informed about matters that affect our communities.”

The six-bill package, led by Rep. Doug Geiss (D-Taylor), requires public notices to be published in the city clerk's office and in one of the following: city Web site, newspaper Web site or on a public, educational or government (PEG) access channel. The Michigan Municipal League (MML) advocates cost-cutting measures for its members--538 cities, villages and urban townships--and has been working with the bill sponsor and other groups on the legislation. 

"Given the dire financial conditions our cities, townships and counties face, we must use our limited resources wisely,” Rep. Geiss said. “We can ensure that the public is made fully aware of issues affecting them by utilizing 21st Century tools, such as cable and the internet, rather than simply relying on newspapers.  The proposed legislation supports transparency and the public's right to know while saving precious tax dollars, money that may mean keeping a firefighter or police officer from being laid off."

Other bills sponsors include Reps. Joseph Haveman (R-Holland), Richard Hammel (D-Flushing), Pete Lund (R-Shelby Twp.) and Sharon Tyler (R-Niles).

About the Michigan Municipal League
The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. For more information, visit mml.org.

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