By Dennis Hetzel, Executive Director

Dennis Hetzel

I can’t promise that our new guide to Ohio’s local government public notice requirements has every such law, but the reason why also explains why our new guide should be so useful for ONA members.

You see, we thought this would be a simple project. The idea: Create a searchable guide to all the local public notice requirements in Ohio law. The problem: We quickly discovered that notice requirements are peppered throughout Ohio’s thousands of pages of statutes.

Enter AdOhio intern Casey Null, who is beginning his senior year at Ohio State. Over the winter, Casey worked for us as an independent contractor to identify the laws and build the Excel database that we are making available to ONA members as of today. To illustrate the task Casey faced, if you print out the .PDF version into a booklet, you will print out 28 pages of small type.

So, we might have missed some notices. If you find, or see a need for any corrections, please let us know.

There may be revenue opportunities here, too. Even well-intentioned local governmental bodies may not be aware of all the notice requirements in state law. If I were still a publisher, I would be asking my classified manager to go through this guide to see if the newspaper is getting all the notices it should be receiving.

Each item includes a summary, a citation to the Ohio statute involved and miscellaneous information as needed. Most importantly, you will quickly see how many times each notice should be published in a newspaper.

An important companion to this is our “Public Notices FAQ,” which explains new Web-related options in state law that can affect the publication requirements for many of these notices.

You can do a lot more than print it out. The guide can be searched in multiple ways.  Jason Sanford, our communications manager, exported it into Google Drive (formerly called Google Documents).  One click takes you there. You can search by keyword, by topic or even by statute number if you know it. You also can easily zoom in and out on various sections.

We have organized this as logically as we could into these topic areas:

  • The publication process and basic requirements
  • Notices for funds, bonds and securities
  • County notices
  • Township notices
  • Municipal corporation notices
  • Agriculture notices
  • Conservation & natural resources notices
  • Court-related notices
  • School district notices
  • Election notices
  • Health district, housing authority notices
  • Motor vehicle, watercraft & port authority notices
  • Public utility notices
  • Road & highway notices
  • Levy & tax-related notices
  • Water, sanitation & sewer district notices

Eventually, we would like to do the same thing for state-level  notices required by statutes and administrative rules. That’s another big project.

If you’d like to know more about Ohio public notices, I’d encourage you to attend our Sept. 12 workshop at Ohio University’s Pickerington Center near Columbus on Ohio’s public notice laws. Attorney Lou Colombo and I will be presenting, and there also will be a panel of local government officials addressing how we can have the most positive relationships possible with our governmental customers.  Workshop cost only is $10 for ONA members, and we already have nearly 20 registrations.

To register for the workshop, click here.

Meanwhile, great thanks go to Casey and Jason for executing my “little idea” so well.  I hope this is as helpful to our members as we think it will be.

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