NCW Media retains contract for county legal advertising

OROVILLE – With the county commissioners’ decision to accept North Central Washington Media, Inc.’s bid for their legal advertising the Gazette-Tribune and Quad City Herald remain Okanogan County’s official newspaper of public record.

Commissioner Mary Lou Peterson made the motion to accept NCW Media’s bid at their Tuesday, April 13, 2010 commissioner’s meeting. Commissioner Bud Hoover seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

This is the second year that the G-T and its sister-newspaper, the Quad City Herald, have combined to publish the county’s legal advertising, although the Gazette-Tribune has held the contract several times in the past.

The only other bidder for the contract was the Omak Chronicle which offered to publish the legals for a higher price. The commissioners originally opened the bids at their meeting the week before and Chronicle publisher Roger Harnack asked to plead his case for the county going with their higher bid. The commissioners decided to wait a week before making the decision.

“We felt it would have been unfair to decide without a representative from the Gazette-Tribune here to speak as well,” said Commissioner Peterson before discussion on the legal advertising bid at the Tuesday, April 13 meeting.

Prior to the bid being awarded, the commissioners asked Harnack if he would like to speak. Harnack said the Chronicle had a higher circulation than all newspapers published in the county combined. He said his publication would save the county money because currently the county publishes some legal ads in the other newspapers and by going with his newspaper it would no longer have to do so.

“We have a long history of publishing ads in other newspapers like the Methow Valley paper or in the Chronicle when the ad deals with a specific region we are trying to target,” said Peterson. “We did that back when the Chronicle had the contract as well and would continue to do so if we were to award the bid to your paper.”

Harnack also said his free shopper reached most county households.

When board chairman Andy Lampe asked if the representative from NCW Media Inc. would like to speak, the representative reminded the county commissioners that under state law only publications with paid subscriptions, which the Chronicle’s shopper isn’t, can be considered in awarding the county bid for legal advertisement. He also said he agreed with Peterson that the process of placing certain ads in the newspapers where an issue is of particular importance to a targeted area, even though it is also in the county newspaper of record, made sense and he did not expect the commissioners to end the practice.

In making her motion to accept NCW Media’s bid, Peterson cited the cost savings the county has had since it went to the combination of advertising in the Gazette-Tribune and Quad City Herald and the Gazette-Tribune by itself before that. She said in these economic times it made sense to for the county to save money wherever it could.

“I believe we have been saving around $25,000 a year,” added Hoover. “With the county’s current finances I would not feel comfortable making any other decision.”