Alderman David Maack reiterated his disagreement with the city having to pay The Journal Times to publish its legal notices throughout the year.
The JT was the lone bidder on the contract to publish the notices, which include minutes and agendas for city meetings. Maack argues that the city already publishes its minutes online.
But state law requires that the legal notices be published on a printed paper with enough circulation to reach the community, said Tom Friedel, chairman of the committee. Smaller papers, like the Insider News or the Labor Paper, are not eligible to bid on the contract.
The state has petitioned to change the law, but the effort has yet to pass the state Legislature.
Friedel jokingly asked Maack if he would like to introduce the motion to grant the contract to the JT. Maack declined, and then voted against the proposal.
"Alderman Maack would rather have us break the law," said Friedel, who also noted during the meeting that websites like Racine Post are not eligible to be the official site of record for the official announcements.
Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen ruled that counties with populations under 250,000 people (Racine County has about 196,000 people) do not have to declare an official newspaper and can print official proceedings on their website.
Counties do, however, have to print legal notices in a newspaper, Van Hollen ruled.
We're checking on how much the city spent on legal notices in the JT last year. As a starting point, Clark County (population: 33,000; located in central Wisconsin) paid $11,000 last year publishing legal notices.