County Commissioners select Sun
BOCCC begin publishing January 15, discuss alternating between publications
January 15, 2020
For the first time since 2016, the Saratoga Sun will serve as the official publication for the Board of Carbon County Commissioners (BOCCC) following a unanimous vote during their January 7 meeting. Traditionally, the decision to designate an official publication has been made by the BOCCC during their final meeting of the fiscal year, which runs from July to June.
According to BOCCC Chairman John Johnson, however, a letter had been received from the Rawlins Times requesting the newspaper be considered the official publication for 2020. Johnson added, following the receipt of the letter, it was decided to seek bids from other eligible newspapers within the county.
“First, the only two eligible publications in the county are the Rawlins Times and the Saratoga Sun. Both have submitted their circulation numbers and then a price per column inch for legal advertising,” said Carbon County Clerk Gwynn Bartlett.
Bartlett informed the commissioners that both the Times and the Sun had bid $6 per column inch and the publications’ circulation numbers were similar.
In their letter, the Times stated they had between 1,200 and 1,300 print subscribers and 27 online subscribers. Information from form PS 3526, also known as a Statement of Ownership and required by the United States Postal Service, puts the Times print circulation at 1,240.
The Sun, meanwhile, stated they had 1,024 print subscribers and 149 online subscribers.
“So, the subscription numbers are … very similar,” Bartlett said.
Commissioner Sue Jones asked Bartlett what the advertising deadlines were for both publications, noting there had been some confusion with the Rawlins Times in the past that had supposedly led to additional costs for legal advertising. Bartlett informed Jones of the advertising deadlines for both publications, with the Sun’s deadline being Monday at noon.
“I think that it’s pretty much an even toss-up on them. We did have the Saratoga Sun as official publication a few years ago and didn’t have any troubles, but we went back because of the days of publication,” said Johnson.
Indeed, the Saratoga Sun served as the official publication for Carbon County for fiscal years 2013/2014 and 2015/2016.
“We had agreed to take turns, where we had one and then the other … and then we got off because the one was a daily, the other was a weekly and now their time frame and their subscription numbers are a lot closer,” said Jones. “Things have changed, a lot, since we started this discussion seven years ago.”
“I think any discussion we had whether we were going to take turns was rather informal,” replied Johnson.
Commissioner Travis Moore asked if there was a way for the BOCCC to designate both newspapers as official publications. Johnson replied that he didn’t believe it would be “financially prudent.” Additionally, Wyoming State Statute 18-3-517 states “when there is more than one paper published in any county, the board of county commissioners shall designate which one is the official paper of the county.”
Bartlett informed Moore and the rest of the county commissioners that the clerk’s office is “thoughtful about who we advertise with.” She added that county meetings that would affect Saratoga are published in the Sun and those that affect Rawlins are published in the Times. Jones pointed out that advertising was also done with the Snake River Press, though it did not statutorily qualify as an eligible newspaper.
As it came time to vote, Bartlett asked if the commissioners wanted a time frame in which one of the newspapers was selected as the official publication. Commissioner Byron Barkhurst, who made the original motion to designate the Saratoga Sun as the official newspaper, amended his motion for the designation to be for 2020.
The next meeting of the Board of Carbon County Commissioners will be at 9 a.m. on January 21 at the County Courthouse in Rawlins.