Commissioners Keep Advertising Practices

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners will continue to advertise legislative bills in newspapers following a discussion last month.

The commissioners voted 6-1 last month to approve an ordinance that will allow them to hold an additional legislative session each month but will not change the county’s practice of advertising bills in local papers. Commissioner Josh Nordstrom, who voted against the ordinance, advocated for eliminating the practice of advertising in newspapers.

“I don’t want the county taxpayers to pay one dime they don’t have to to advertise these things when we can put it on our website for free,” Nordstrom said.

Following an increase in advertising expenditures, the commissioners agreed to review the county’s existing requirements on advertising bills. As a result, staff presented an ordinance that would add a legislative session and modify the method for publishing notice of legislative bill introductions. The ordinance struck the reference to newspaper advertising and stated that a fair summary of each bill would be published on the county’s website at least seven days before a hearing.

Commissioner Chip Bertino was quick to express concern.

“I think notification still needs to be in the newspapers,” he said.

Nordstrom objected and said that continuing newspaper advertising would not save the county any money.

“I think there’s a portion of our population that is not internet savvy, who read the papers, and that’s how they get their news,” Bertino said. “Not by going on the website. I think we have a responsibility to our taxpayers to ensure we meet their needs as far as communicating what’s going on.”

When the rising rates of advertising in the Daily Times was brought up, Bertino said that the county could put the advertisements in OC Today or The Dispatch.

Nordstrom stressed that he didn’t want to have advertising requirements cost the county money when he felt it was unnecessary, as the information could be shared on the county’s website.

Commissioner Ted Elder said that if newspaper advertising was continued, he wanted to see newspapers in southern Worcester County included. Bertino said there was no newspaper in Pocomoke anymore.

“I think that the two broadest circulated papers are The Dispatch and Ocean City Today and they’re quality newspapers so I think that they would certainly fall into the category for these advertisements,” Bertino said.

The commissioners voted 6-1, with Nordstrom opposed, to approve the ordinance that added an extra legislative session but didn’t adjust advertising practices.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.