The Community News • P.O. Box 1031 • 203 Pecan Dr. • Aledo, TX 76008 • 817-441-7661 • FAX: 817-441-5419
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An item is on the agenda for the Willow Park City Council's Monday, Nov. 15 agenda regarding the city's official newspaper of record. We anticipate that at that time, the city council will vote to change the city's newspaper of record from The Community News to the Weatherford Democrat. We will attempt to have the following statement read into the record during the discussion of this issue. However, it is unclear whether the statement will be allowed, so we put it here for the historical record.
For more than 15 years The Community News has proudly served the residents of Willow Park, working harder and longer than any other news source to bring news and information about the city to its residents.
During those years there have been times when the relationship between the newspaper and the city council and/or mayor has been good, and other times when the relationship has been bad. The one thing that has never changed during those years, and never will change as long as I am the owner of this newspaper, is our commitment, not to the members of the city council, but to the residents and readers in Willow Park.
We feel that commitment has been rewarded by the overwhelmingly positive response we have received from the citizens of Willow Park over the last few weeks.
As the city council prepares to discuss the official newspaper of record for the city, the following points should be at the forefront of the discussion:
1. The official newspaper of record is designated for the publishing of legal notices. From time to time, the law requires that residents be notified of pending actions of the city so that the residents have an opportunity to provide input to the council. It goes without saying that the public’s interest is best served by having legal notices published where they will be seen by the most people. Without question, in Willow Park that venue is The Community News. Any formal or informal survey of residents will show that more of them read The Community News than any other legal county newspaper.
2. The fiduciary duty of the city is also to publish legal notices in the most cost-effective manner possible. Comparing “apples to apples,” it costs almost twice as much to run notices in the Weatherford Democrat as it does to publish them in The Community News. Over the last 12 months, the city has spent less than $1,000 on legal notices in The Community News.
3. Finally, the council should look at the commitment a newspaper shows to be present and report what is happening at council meetings. I realize the members of the city council work for free. My reporter does not. He is paid to be at the meetings from beginning to end. This is a significant financial commitment to the residents of the city. The biggest commitment we have seen from any other newspaper is to send a reporter for an hour or so occasionally. In terms of accuracy, we will happily submit our coverage of the city council’s meetings the last few months against our competitor’s, and allow anyone to view the unedited video of the meetings to decide whose coverage better reflects what was said and done at those meetings.
While there is probably more than enough rancor between myself and several members of the city council, our personal feelings or anger should not prevent any of us, The Community News or the city council, from doing our jobs to the best of our abilities. We owe it to the residents of the city to do no less.
Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we wish to assure our readers that we will continue to cover the city to the best of our abilities. As always, when elected officials’ actions call themselves into question, we’ll report it. When positive events happen, we’ll report them. And when we inevitably make a mistake, we’ll admit it. We always have, and we always will. And should this vote not go our way, we will be even more vigilant to ensure that the residents are informed of upcoming council actions, so that our loss of legal notices will not have a negative impact on our readers.