Public notices are not controversial things. The public values them, according to nearly every poll taken across the country. The notices run in newspapers because they provide you, the public, valuable information about what your government is doing with your tax dollars.
Yet, some Wyoming legislators want to err on the side of secrecy in government by eliminating city and county notices being published permanently in print, citing the need to save pennies when the state is facing a funding tsunami in the hundreds of millions. Public notice costs in most markets are less than one-half of 1% of a city or county budget, and many are far less than that.
Putting the notices online (which is already done by the newspapers for free) is as costly, or more costly because of security issues, than running them in print. Any savings under this plan is smoke.
Rep. Aaron Clausen was among those voting against the effort to remove notices recently during a legislative committee meeting, noting any possible savings would be inconsequential to the detriment of the public. He was right. We hope other legislators kill this idea quickly and find ways to actually save some money, rather than hiding their true intention of shielding cities and counties from public accountability.
But the most likely voices to be heard will come from the public.