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FAQ on public notices

What are public notices?

They contain information required by law to be distributed to the public. Examples include city ordinances, water-rights applications, ballot questions, bids on public works projects, hearings on zoning changes and many more.

How do I publish a notice?

Contact a newspaper in the county where the notice needs to be published. You can consult our directory of publications.

public notice copyWhy are they published in newspapers of ‘general circulation’?

Public notices must be actively disseminated to people. All government records are “available,” if people know where to search. But the information in public notices is so essential to an informed citizenry that it needs to be placed where people will find it even if they’re not necessarily searching for it.

Shouldn’t public notices be placed on the internet?

They are. When they’re published in newspapers, they also appear on the internet. If you search for ‘Nevada public notices,’ the top result is the site provided by the Nevada Press Association with a compilation of notices around the state. They also appear on individual papers’ sites.

Couldn’t the government just do this itself?

A fundamental reason for public notices is government accountability to its constituents. The notices are published through an independent party — the newspaper — to create a verifiable record of the date they were published and show that the content met legal requirements. Without such verification, government would be accountable only to itself.

Do people bother to read these?

Our study in Nevada, which got results similar to studies in other states, showed that 10 percent say they ‘never’ read public notices. But 31 percent said they read them ‘frequently’ and another 33 percent said they ‘sometimes’ read the notices.

Is this the best use of my tax dollars?

Nevada newspapers are strong proponents of the three key requirements for open government — open records, open meetings and public notices. They are the citizens’ tools for reducing fraud, waste and abuse in their government.

We can cite one example, in Clark County, where property listed in a public notice as for use only as a cemetery was flipped by a developer for $6 million. Such examples are rare, however, because Nevada’s transparency laws force government to disclose their actions.

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