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Committee debates value of publishing minutes

St. Croix County Board minutes will be printed only in the two newspapers with the largest circulations in the county, according to action taken by the county's Finance Committee Dec. 4.

The decision doesn't affect publication of meeting and other legal notices, which are governed by other regulations.

The proceedings of the Board's monthly meetings will be printed in the Hudson Star-Observer and the New Richmond News.

The Finance Committee also voted to print the minutes in the county's Aging and Disability Resource Center newsletter, but on Monday County Clerk Cindy Campbell said she's still checking on the cost and possibility of doing that.

The discussion began when Campbell passed around a copy of proceedings printed in very small type in the Woodville Leader.

The county sets the rate it pays to print the proceedings, said Campbell. The Leader, the smallest newspaper in the county, is paid $60 per month.

Finance Committee members agreed the small-type proceedings were "defective" and voted not to pay for them. (Editor's note: Four days after the meeting, Campbell said the Leader publisher has since called her and said his paper printed the minutes in larger type the following week. She hadn't seen a copy of that publication yet.)

The county has been publishing County Board proceedings in seven newspapers: the Leader, the Star-Observer, the New Richmond News, the River Falls Journal, the Baldwin Bulletin, the Central St. Croix News and the Tribune Press Reporter.

The amount paid is based on circulation and ranges from $60 to $182 per month for a total of about $770 for each meeting.

Since the minutes are available on its Web site, the county could just publish them in its official newspaper, suggested Finance Committee Chairman Daryl Standafer, North Hudson.

A lot of older citizens don't use the Internet but read the minutes in their local newspapers, protested Supervisor Esther Wentz, New Richmond.

With their circulations, the Star-Observer and New Richmond News hit about half the county's population, said Supervisor Buck Malick, town of Hudson, who made the motion to publish in just those papers and the ADRC newsletter.

Supervisor Sharon Norton-Bauman, Hudson, said she's concerned about reaching citizens in the eastern part of county.

"I don't want to contribute to more of the imaginary divide," she said.

Malick's motion, which was adopted by the committee, also requires that a subscription to either the Star-Observer or the New Richmond News be provided at each senior citizen center in the county.