New website benefits all taxpayers
Monday, September 02, 2013 10:00 PM
Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about public notice advertising, or what's commonly referred to as legal advertisements.
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In short, state law requires government units to show you where your taxes are being spent. It's a nice way to ensure that the fox is not guarding the henhouse and it certainly allows each one of us to see exactly where the money goes.
Not trying to belabor the point, but I wanted to write a bit more about it today because the Hoosier State Press Association recently announced a revamped website devoted to legal advertisements from all over the state of Indiana.
The site, www.indianapublicnotices.com, has easy-to-navigate features and a large collection of listings from around the state.
"We hope our members will use their print and digital products to spread the word to readers about this government-transparency tool," said Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel.
Yes, Steve, I am.
Pardon the shameless promotion, but as a former board member of Indiana's newspaper organization, I can tell you that this project has been talked about and worked on for a while. The fact that it is now out there and available to each and every citizen is something everyone can take pride in.
First, all of the notices on the website were printed in newspapers, the most trusted source for community information. Second, you can search for public notices by keyword, date, newspaper or location. And uses what? It's absolutely free.
"HSPA is committed to making public notices easily accessible," said Robyn McCloskey, current president of the HSPA board of directors and publisher of the Kokomo Tribune and the Pharos-Tribune (Logansport). "Public notices remain one of the three pillars of government transparency. Indiana's Public Notice Advertising Law joins the Access to Public Records Act and Open Door Law in supporting the public's right to know how public servants conduct business."
The publication of notices in newspapers and on their websites puts information about local, county and state government in places where people are likely to find it, Key said.
"This results in maximum government transparency," Key said. "Indianapublicnotices.com offers another tool to track how elected leaders make decisions and spend tax dollars."
According to Key, effective public notices are archivable, easily accessible, verifiable - and disseminated by an independent third party.
"Newspapers deliver on all four elements," Key said.
I hope you take a little time to surf over to indianapublicnotices.com. After all, it's your money that's being tracked.