By: Chris Faulknor, Publisher
This past week, I learned the Charlevoix County Treasurer has decided not to publish the tax foreclosure notices for 2011 in The Boyne City Gazette.
She has decided the best place for the county’s vital, and legally-required, information in the cheapest and least circulated newspaper.
This move ensures two things: our tax dollars will go to a business based in Gaylord instead of being kept locally; and these important notices will be published in a paper with an unverified and lowest stated readership.
A public notice is a piece of information the State of Michigan deems so important it is required to be placed in a newspaper of record, published and circulated in the county in question, to give the public maximum opportunity to become aware of the facts contained therein.
By publishing these in an out-of-county newspaper with low readership it decreases the public’s ability to see these important notices.
As with most quality newspapers, The Boyne City Gazette has been proudly audited by the United States Postal Service. This means I sat here in the office while a postal worker from Lansing picked through every store receipt, verified the paid subscriptions I claimed were actually paid (by way of cancelled check, in fact), and physically counted the papers being recycled.
Sure, the county will save a few hundred dollars, but refusing to support local businesses is a poor choice in the long run.
When I addressed this issue at a recent County Commission meeting, the treasurer stood up and said “I’m publishing it with the (lower circulated newspaper) because they quoted us a lower price)”
Cost savings should not be the sole factor in deciding who is lucky enough to see the foreclosure notices this year (this year, the lucky crowd will number under a thousand, and mostly comprise residents of East Jordan, Ellsworth, and Atwood).
So why were The Boyne City Gazette’s prices higher?
Well, it starts with a higher quality product.
Our news coverage is unparalleled, but don’t take our word for it.
Go ahead and lay the Boyne City Gazette on a table next to any other area publication. Count the local photos. Count the local stories. Count the local columnists and see who comes out on top.
We are represented at nearly every Boyne City event.
You will see photos in this week’s paper from events that no other news source got near (Not sure? Try to find a photo from Boyne City’s ladder truck in another paper this week, or a photo of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings at Freshwater Studio or a feature story on Shirley Howie or the in-depth coverage of the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners meeting).
Our prices are higher, but it’s not that the Boyne City Gazette charges so much more — fact is our prices are still lower than the going rate of newspapers with similar quality and circulation — but that another paper charges so much less.
And, yes, we depend on the revenue from legal notices to keep putting out the community-focused, news-packed paper our readers have come to depend upon.
We bring this matter to your attention because, as the saying goes, our ox is getting gored. But, it’s not just our ox … it’s Boyne City’s ox.
If you feel, as we do, that a disservice is being done, we urge you to contact your elected Charlevoix County Treasurer Marilyn Cousineau at 547-7207 and tell her so.