The Star-Advertiser is asking at least three times the current rate to continue publishing legal notices for government agencies on Oahu, Molokai, and Lanai, according to a description of the proposed contract terms submitted to the State Procurement Office.
Under the terms of a contract won last year by the former Star-Bulletin, legal notices and classified ads placed by the state cost $9.75 per column inch, while retail ad space went for $14.57. The Honolulu Advertiser handled the notices for Molokai and Lanai.
The Star-Advertiser agreed to match the rates in place prior to the merger of the Honolulu daily newspapers, but only until the end of October.
The proposed new rates would rise to $30 per column inch for legal ads (a 208% increase), and $60 for either retail or classified ads, increases of 312% and a whopping 515%.
The Department of Accounting and General Services is seeking permission to approve the new rates without seeking new competitive bids, saying that the Star-Advertiser “is the only company to provide daily public notice services on Oahu, Lanai, and Molokai.” The request is still under review by the State Procurement Office.
Although state law allows legal notices to be placed in weekly publications, which would open the field to a number of other potential bidders, DAGS says “previously contracts have proven it to be ineffective and cannot meet the needs to inform the public of government activities.”
DAGS says the new charges are fair “because the rates are lower than what is offered to the public and businesses.”
The new one-year contract is valued at $300,000.