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PUBLIC NOTICE FAQ

What are public notices?
Public notices are notifications to taxpayers and citizens, as established by state statutes or by order of a court. They are also sometimes referred to as "legal notices."

WHY ARE THEY PUBLISHED IN NEWSPAPERS OF ‘PAID GENERAL CIRCULATION’?
Public notices must be actively disseminated to taxpayers and citizens who may be affected by the information contained in the notice. All government records are intended to be open and “available,” but only if people know where to search. The information in public notices is so essential to an informed citizenry that it needs to be published and made available where people will find it -- even if they’re not necessarily searching for it.

SHOULDN’T PUBLIC NOTICES BE PLACED ON THE INTERNET?
They are. When notices are published in newspapers, they are also then posted onto the internet. If you search for ‘North Carolina public notices,’ one of the top results is this website, which strives to post every notice published in North Carolina newspapers. Individual newspapers also post notices to their individual websites and many also provide a link to this public notice website.

COULDN’T THE GOVERNMENT JUST DO THIS ITSELF?
A fundamental purpose of public notices is to help ensure that government is held accountable and that requires an independent third-party. Traditionally, for decades public notices are published in newspapers as that independent third-party — to create a verifiable record of the date they were published and show that the content met legal requirements. Without such verification, elected officials and the government entities would be accountable only to themselves.

Do people bother to read these?
In our most recent reader survey, every month 6.6 million North Carolina adults turn to newspapers for news and information. 72% read public notices in local print or digital newspapers. 68% believe that state and local governments should be required to publish public notices in newspapers on a regular basis as a service to the community. 86% surveyed cite local newspapers as their “most trusted” source of public notices vs. government and related sources. Local newspapers are “relied on more often” than any other source by North Carolinians seeking information about their local governments.

Is this the best use of my tax dollars?
Yes. North Carolina newspapers are strong proponents of the three key requirements for open government — open records, open meetings and public notices. These are the citizens’ tools for reducing fraud, waste and abuse in their government, and in the long run they save taxpayer dollars. The cost of publishing notices in newspapers represents such a very small amount that government entities rarely list it as a line item in their budgets.

HOW TO PLACE A NOTICE
In North Carolina, public notices must be published in a newspapers of PAID general circulation within the county where the government unit or court is located.

If you need to have a notice printed
Contact a newspaper in your county. You can find a list of newspapers by visiting the North Carolina Press Association‘s website, www.ncpress.com or contact us at 919-516-8000, or by email at phil@ncpress.com and we’ll be happy to help you.


Why Public Notices?

Public Notices & You

Public notices contain information about activities and events that impact citizens' lives because of governmental actions or requirements. They include such important actions as government hearings and meetings; zoning, annexation and land use changes; election notices; municipal budgets, taxes and special assessment information; requests for bids on government construction and service contracts; permit and licensing applications, land and water use regulations; judicial and executive sales, disposal of foreclosed and abandoned property and many more. All of these actions affect you and your community.

The North Carolina Legislature has recognized the need and right of the public to be informed about these activities and events. As a result, public notices and legal ads are published in newspapers to effectively disseminate this important information throughout their communities while also providing historical preservation and easy public access.

With today's mobile society, however, many citizens have interests outside their local areas and need to be informed of governmental activities on a broader scope. This is the reason NCNotices.com was created. It enables individuals and businesses throughout the state -- and nation or world for that matter -- to quickly and effectively search public notices throughout North Carolina by means of a centralized database.

A Newspaper Partnership
Thousands of public notices and legal ads are published each week in newspapers across the state. The state's daily and weekly newspapers have always been committed to providing important community information to help keep citizens informed. Now they have joined together to create this single, convenient website, allowing you to search through a database of statewide public notices and legal ads at no cost. You can also sign up for e-mail service to have notices of interest to you delivered directly to your computer.

Join the Partnership
The North Carolina Press Association has taken the lead in providing a simple, easy method to allow North Carolina newspapers to present their public notices to citizens throughout the state. There is no risk or cost involved for any newspaper to join in this effort and contribute to the success of this unique statewide public information website.
If you are not already participating, we would urge you to join today. For more information, contact us at katie@ncpress.com.