After another round of discussions, the Richmond City Council voted in favor of an ordinance that would require the city’s advertising and legal business to stay in Richmond.
The council voted 7-1, with Councilman Jason Berning giving the only no vote.
Berning has spoken out against the ordinance that was changed during the last week of January by the former council. Since the change, the city began running all advertisements and legals in the Lawson Review beginning in March until mid May.
Berning said he wanted the language that says the paper has to be in Richmond removed from the ordinance so the city can have a more competitive bidding process.
There are two newspapers in Ray County for the council to chose from.
In total, the city spent around $4,200 last year on legal and advertisement printing costs.
Councilwoman Terrie Stanley said the comparison was not accurate and pointed out that The Daily News reaches more households in Richmond.
“That is an apples to apples comparison,” Littrell said.
“I think the intent was to be able to inform the citizens of Richmond, and the majority of citizens read The Daily News,” Councilman Mike Wright said in response.
City Wastewater Superintendent C.E. Goodall disagreed with Wright and asked him to check around. Goodall said he spent about two years as editor of The Daily News.
“You would be surprised how many people take the Lawson Review. I would venture to ask around and check,” Goodall said. “I’m just asking you to check around.”
Stanley asked Goodall, “Was that because before we didn’t have much news in The Daily News?”
Resident Dave Simmons also agreed with Goodall.
“You would be surprised by the amount of people that know what’s going on in Richmond from the Lawson paper than they do from the Richmond paper,” Simmons said in response to Stanley’s remark.
Many residents voiced support for keeping the bids, legals and advertisements in Richmond, but Berning did not hear the argument.
“We won’t have a competitive bid process,” Berning said. “If we’re pinching pennies with the budget, then I think we need to have a competitive bids process.”
Berning also touted the upstart Ray County Journal as a paper the city could advertise with. Berning has financially supported the Ray County Journal with advertising.
Councilman Roger Kepple informed Berning that a legal newspaper has to have a paid subscription and in operation for at least three years.
Berning was asked if he planned on going out for bids on every expenditure the city makes even if the purchase is under $5,000. He responded by saying, “I’m sure we aren’t.”
When asked why he was focusing on the legals, bids and advertisements, he did not answer.
Berning then asked why The Daily News does not print the legals for free like they did when the city switched to the Lawson Review.
Publisher JoEllen Black told the council The Daily News printed the legals as a courtesy to their readers.