Section 50.061, Florida Statutes regulates the amount a publisher of a newspaper can charge local governments for the publishing of any and all official public notices or legal advertisements. The cost of advertisements can vary in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for a comprehensive plan amendment and certain government initiated zoning ordinances. Over the last couple of years, the Florida Legislature has considered several different bills that would help to reduce the cost of publishing legal advertisements. On May 4, 2012, the Governor signed House Bill 937 (the “Bill”), which may provide some relief to local governments when publishing an advertisement that requires multiple publications.
This Bill provides that advertisements that are required to be published more than once (i.e. a comprehensive plan amendment and certain government initiated zoning ordinances) are entitled to a 15% discount off of the original rate charged for the second or successive advertisements. However, this discounted rate comes with one caveat: local governments must incur the actual costs of the advertisements (i.e. such advertisement costs can not be paid in advance by or allowed to be recouped from any private parties). Although this discount applies only to situations where multiple advertisements are legally required, this should come as some relief to local governments as they continue to struggle with lower ad valorem tax revenues and budget deficits.
Author(s): Chad S. Friedman