People wanting to comment on issues before the county, know about public hearings, bid on government contracts, and consider buying tax-foreclosure properties will once again find the listings in the Methow Valley News and Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune. The Okanogan County commissioners awarded the contract last week to the two publications to be the official newspapers for all county legal advertising.
This is the fourth year that the two papers, with a combined circulation of 3,075, will publish all official legal ads for the county. The Omak–Okanogan County Chronicle, which has a circulation of 3,987, also submitted a bid.
The commissioners evaluated the bids based on deadline requirements, circulation, and the ability to publish the ads online at no additional cost – all at the lowest cost to the county.
The bids priced the ads in different ways. The Chronicle set a rate of $5.25 per column inch for regular legal ads, and a flat rate of $45 per tax-foreclosure notice. The Methow Valley News and Gazette-Tribune said they would charge $5 per column inch, regardless of the type of ad.
The commissioners compared costs based on sample ads in the bid packet. They found that regular legal advertising would be more expensive in the Chronicle, but the two sample tax-foreclosure notices would be more expensive in the Methow Valley News and Gazette-Tribune. The tax-foreclosure notices the newspapers were asked to produce were 265 and 405 words.
In their discussion, the commissioners said the bid specifications were somewhat confusing, with a requirement that tax-foreclosure ads “be based on cost-per-parcel basis.” Ultimately the commissioners decided it was a matter of semantics and that they could compare the final cost, with the understanding that the Methow Valley News and Gazette-Tribune bid had shown their math, while the Chronicle had applied a flat rate.
Although lowest price is one factor in the criteria, they can also weigh other considerations, the commissioners said.
The notices will appear in the two newspapers on Wednesday in the Methow Valley News and Thursday in the Gazette-Tribune. They will also be posted on each newspaper’s website (www.methowvalleynews.com and www.gazette-tribune.com) and on the website of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.
State law requires that certain matters of public interest be published in a newspaper of record.
The new one-year contract starts July 1.
“This is a competitive process, and we appreciate the commissioners’ deliberations,” Methow Valley News publisher Don Nelson said. “We’re pleased to be able to again provide this service to county residents in conjunction with the Gazette-Tribune.”