LEGAL NOTICES: IS YOUR CITY BEING OVERCHARGED?
Numerous Texas statutes require cities to publish notice of various city actions. Chapter 2051 of the Texas Government Code generally governs the type of newspaper that should be used, as well as other notice-related issues.
One issue that city officials should consider is the amount a newspaper is allowed to charge a city for legal notices. Some city officials may be surprised to learn that Section 2051.045 of the Government Code provides that “[t]he legal rate for publication of a notice in a newspaper is the newspaper’s lowest published rate for classified advertising.” (Emphasis added).
Further, Section 2051.048 provides that a city shall publish notices in a newspaper that is: (1) published in the city; and (2) willing to publish the notice at or below the legal rate. If no newspaper published in the city will publish the notice at or below the legal rate, the city shall publish the notice in a different newspaper that: (1) is published in the county in which the city is located; and (2) will charge the legal rate or a lower rate.
Finally, if no newspaper published in the county in which the city is located will publish the notice at or below the legal rate, the city shall post the notice at the door of the county courthouse.
While some cities may choose to publish notices in a local paper that charges more than the legal rate, others may wish to post the notice at the county courthouse door and solicit public input in more economical ways. City officials should consult with local legal counsel before choosing a course of action.