Tax Delinquency Notification Changes Hands

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For decades, local governments have been required to publicly post legal notices, like delinquent tax notices. Typically, newspapers like the News Herald received that business, but not anymore. Bay County commissioners made a significant change Tuesday morning and went elsewhere.

Bay County commissioner broke a long standing tradition Tuesday switching the publication of delinquent tax notices from the News Herald to the Bay Bullet.

Commissioners say the decision was purely financial, saving the county as much as $150,000.

"We looked at some of the other counties and what they're doing as far as the publication of the delinquent tax notices," said Bay County attorney Terrell Arline. "We tried to make a comparison apples to apples based on population."

Commissioners had 3 options.

Publishing 23,000 notices which would have meant going with the New Herald's large circulation, publishing 6,000 notices which opend the door for the Bay Bullet, or putting out a bid for 850 notices which would be the least expensive.

The discussion centered on the second option which drew questions from Commissioners Mike Thomas and Guy Tunnell.

"The bottom line, if we're concerned with saving money for the benefit of the tax payers - the delinquent tax payers - then I think it behooved us to look at the least expensive option," said Tunnell.

But the three other commissioners stuck with the second option.

"Hitting the middle ground on the newspaper on the publication, you know it puts it out, it doesn't over do it, it doesn't under-do it," said Commissioners Bill Dozier. "So I think there's a balance there."

Chairman George Gainer cast the deciding vote, giving the business to the Bay Bullet which will publish the delinquent tax notices 3 times a year.

News Herald management declined to comment on the commission's decision.

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