Notice the public notices — online, too

Did you know of a new bar was opening down the street from you? Would you like to know if someone is seeking bids for construction that needs to be done? Are you interested in auctions of foreclosed-upon property? Were you aware that you might have some unclaimed funds? Would you like to know when there is a public hearing on an important proposal that could change your life? Well, you can be informed of these notices if you read the public notices in your local newspaper.

Granted, they are in written in legal jargon and lack catchy headlines, but public notices serve a very important purpose: to inform the public of actions on issues that affect us involving businesses, banks, schools, municipalities and other government agencies.

Newspapers are an independent source of verifiable content, available in print and online, and now the legal public notices are also available on a new statewide website. The site publicizes all public notices and is conveniently searchable and archive-able so future generations can retrieve them.

The site,, was launched Jan. 1. It was a venture by the New York Press Association, the New York News Publishers Association and the American Lawyer Media, publisher of the New York Law Journal.

These public notices contain important information that are legally required by the state to run in a paid publication of the community. Most citizens believe public notices should be in newspapers, and rightfully so. It’s content you’d expect to find in the newspaper that covers the issues of your community.

It is a vital function newspapers provide, independent of government. Newspapers have tangible archives and sworn affidavits that notices are published. More importantly, they make the notices visible to the public of all demographics. They deliver them to your doorstep rather than post them on a government website that you have to somehow seek out. It’s a “push” medium rather than a “pull” medium, and it’s deeply important to a free, democratic society.

While some newspapers make their public notices available online as well as in print, there hasn’t been a single place online where one could browse through all of them – until now.

So if you want to know when the town board holds its next budget hearing, or who is seeking a variance to the town’s zoning law, or when and where to vote on a local referendum, just go to