Hillsboro may stop publishing notices
Hillsboro City Council members considered Tuesday publishing most legal notices on the city website instead of in the newspaper.
A charter ordinance two years ago provided for switching to the website but has not been implemented.
City administrator Matt Stiles said the website would cost less and allow notices to be posted more quickly than its official newspaper, Hillsboro Star-Journal, which prints weekly.
Stiles said that the city spent $7,000 on legal publications in 2021 and $9,000 in 2022. The annual cost of website is just more than $8,000 and is partially paid by the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.
Stiles said the city sometimes had to wait longer than expected to get affidavits of publication from the newspaper.
J.T. Klaus, a bond lawyer for Triplett, Wolf, Garretson in Wichita, said his firm had tried to convince a lot of small towns to abandon publishing in newspapers.
His firm asked the attorney general’s office whether a city website was “a newspaper” but got no answer. This summer, however, an opinion indicated cities could opt not to publish notices.
He said he thought Hillsboro was in “a pretty safe place” to stop publishing notices.
“Most cities that do this are in a pretty uncomfortable position with the newspaper,” he said.
Councilman David Loewen said he was concerned about how much time it would take to put notices on the website.
Mayor Lou Thurston acknowledged that the council had received a letter opposed to the change from Star-Journal publisher Eric Meyer.
“I think we need to be very deliberate in this,” he said. “We need to think it through. Mr. Meyer makes some good points, and we should consider that.”
In other business, a property at 306 W. Grand Ave. originally set for a condemnation hearing was accepted instead into the city’s land bank.
Hillsboro police will get new bullet-proof vests, thanks in part to a $6,000 donation from Hillsboro Community Foundation.
Jerry Mendoza, who previously was dismissed from coaching a Marion recreation league team, was introduced at city recreation director.