Our Opinion: Publishing notices important part of public discourse

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Discussion Tuesday at the Mower County Board of Commissioners meeting about publishing legal notices in the newspaper again put a spotlight on the importance of transparency in government.

While we recognize the cost that comes with publishing legal notices, we remind the commissioners of the important role these play for government — and in turn, the community.

Public notices in the newspaper are still the No. 1 source for citizens to see what their government is doing. It is where the community learns information about construction projects, what happened at a meeting, about proposed or approved ordinances, the delinquent tax list, the sale of property, noxious weed control and voting information.

Public notices are essential in not only helping residents make informed decisions but also in holding local governments accountable for decisions made.

Between its print edition and website, the Herald reaches over 14,500 people — which is a substantial number of people in the area who care about the community. Our website alone has hundreds of thousands of pageviews each month.

We remind the commissioners and the public that while the public notices are printed in the newspaper, they are also published and archived on the Herald’s website and are free for the public to access. The website is a place people are already comfortable visiting on a regular basis.

The notices are also uploaded to mnpublicnotice.com, where the public can search for all of the public notices throughout the state.

We encourage people to follow the public notices in the Herald either in the print or online format and to show support for this long-standing practice moving into the future.

Though some governments across the state have pushed toward self-publishing these notices on their own websites, it is critical that these continue to be published in a forum independent of the government on a source that is trusted and visited by thousands on a daily basis.