The Ravalli County Commissioners awarded the county’s legal publishing contract for the coming year to the Ravalli Republic.
According to sworn statements of publication contained in the sealed bids, the Ravalli Republic has a press run of 4,730 papers and distributes 4,040 in the county and 72 outside the county by mail subscription for a total circulation of 4,112. The Bitterroot Star has a press run of 7,200 papers and distributes 6,673 in county and 143 outside the county by mail subscription, home delivery and news stands for a total circulation of 6,816.
The Ravalli Republic’s bid was $2.85 for the first folio of 100 words and $2.70 per folio for subsequent insertions. The Bitterroot Star’s bid was $2.90 for the first folio of 100 words and $2.45 per folio for subsequent insertions.
Commissioner Suzy Foss asked administrative assistant Glenda Wiles if there was a problem using a one day a week publication compared to using a daily.
Wiles said, “There is not much difference to our office. Of course, there is a little more latitude with the daily for placing the ads, but I haven’t had any issues with the Star getting things in in a timely fashion.”
Commissioner Ron Stoltz said that the Planning Department told him that using a one day a week publication was a problem. He asked Wiles about the two prices, one for the first publication and one for a second publication of the same ad.
Wiles said that the ads run by the commissioners’ office always run twice and that other departments run twice, except the Planning Department which sometimes runs only once.
Foss said, “The biggest concern I have is that real estate is picking up in the valley and my concern is efficiency. We’ve had a problem a couple of times with a one day a week publication. With a forty-five day time frame it could delay things for up to six days.”
Stoltz moved to award the bid to the Ravalli Republic. Foss seconded.
One member of the public, Chris Hockman, said that he appreciated the fact that the public doesn’t have to pay to see the legal ads in the Bitterroot Star.
The Commissioners then voted unanimously to award the bid to the Ravalli Republic.
Asked afterward why he voted to award the bid to the Republic, Commissioner Stoltz said, “Because they were a nickel cheaper.” When it was pointed out that the Star’s bid was actually cheaper when both prices were considered for first and second publication, he said that the commissioners’ office publishes twice but the other departments don’t. He also said that the Republic had the legal publishing contract three years ago and then the Star had them last year and he thinks it’s a good idea to spread the business around the community.
Commissioner Greg Chilcott said that he believed the Republic was cheaper when you consider the ads that only run once. When he was reminded that Wiles had told them that almost all ads run twice except for some from the Planning Department, he said, “That’s not what I heard.”
Commissioner Jeff Burrows said that he was very ill and probably should not have come to work that day. As a result, he said, he failed to actually calculate costs.
“I have to admit I did not do my due diligence on this and just followed Ron’s (Stoltz) lead.”