Public notice search site set to launch

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HSPA’s upgraded public notice advertising website will launch by month’s end.

The association designed the website – with advanced search options – to collect all public notices from member newspapers in one place.

The site serves as part of HSPA’s efforts to preserve public notice advertising. The online listing acts as a defensive measure against legislation that would eliminate public notice publication in newspapers and replace it with government website postings.

HSPA identified four anti-public notice bills in the 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly, said Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel.

“HSPA opposes this decrease in government transparency,” Key said. “Eliminating or reducing the publication of notices in newspapers would also mean the end of publication by an independent, non-governmental third party.”

The upgraded website will serve residents in a variety of ways, from those trying to find a recently published notice impacting their neighborhood to a construction firm president looking for government projects to submit bids on throughout the state.

The association’s previous public notice website collected notices for many of HSPA’s 165 member newspapers. The number wasn’t adequate, however, and the board of directors opted to change the information-collection process to increase the participation level.

HSPA is now ready to transition to a website with search functions operated by Tecnavia Press Inc., Key said.

This year the board of directors requested that member newspapers include a short code – hspaxlp – at the end of each public notice they publish and upload their newspaper pages to an FTP site. That allows Tecnavia to identify newspaper pages that contain public notices and include them on the public notice website.

In order to make the website a success for newspapers and state residents, pages from all member newspapers are needed, Key said.

“We’re still working diligently to achieve 100 percent participation,” he said.

If you have questions about this project, contact Key at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.