All Politics is Local

Legal ad revenue from county to The Columbian increases despite commissioners’ vote

In March, Clark County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke voted to award the contract for legal ads to The Reflector instead of The Columbian.

As Tyler Graf reported at the time, “the board’s action ignored the wishes of the county’s general services director, who said such a decision would cost the county more money in the long run. It also runs counter to a bid requirement that legal notices appear in a newspaper with countywide circulation.”

Madore and Mielke said they were doing it to save money.

Also from Graf: “The Reflector’s per-line advertising rates are slightly less than half what they are for The Columbian. But The Columbian reaches four times as many Wednesday readers — a total of 112,359 — than The Reflector, which publishes once a week on that day.”

Then-Commissioner Steve Stuart voted against the idea, saying placing legal notices in a paper with a smaller reach would do a disservice to county residents. He said he recognized the higher cost because some ads will still have to be published in The Columbian to meet bid requirements. He said Madore and Mielke seemed to be making a decision based on disagreements with The Columbian’s content.

The Columbian’s contract with the county ended in June. So how much money has Clark County spent on legal ads with The Columbian since July 1? According to figures from our advertising department, the county has spent $32,283, about half of which was related to the election.

From July to December 2013, the county spent $24,356.

So, comparing the two six-month time periods, the county has paid more money to The Columbian than it did when the newspaper had the contract. And it’s not because The Columbian raised rates. The Columbian’s advertising director told me the paper still charges the county the same discounted rate it had under the contract.

You’re welcome, taxpayers.

 

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at stephanie.rice@columbian.com or 360-735-4508.