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About Public Notices

Public notices are legally mandated publications that contain information alerting people of government-related activities that may cause a citizen to take action. Published for centuries in local newspapers, public notices may take on many forms. Most public notices provide information about government activities and are designed to alert the public and provide an opportunity for citizen input.

Other public notices contain government requests for bids for services, purchases and other business-related activities and are designed to provide businesses with the opportunity to participate in the government procurement process. The final type of public notice consists of notices by non-governmental entities using public powers or institutions in some way, like our court system.

Public notices serve as a conduit of information from the government to the public. They enable citizens to monitor the actions of their local governments. Public notices allow citizens to serve as watchdogs for fraud and incompetence by both government officials and private interests.

Further, through public notices, citizens are given the opportunity to make their voices heard in public hearings and meetings. Citizens across the nation have used public notices and public hearings to object to changes in their community that they feel could have negative consequences. Similarly, citizens have been able to participate in changes that enhance their communities, such as the construction of parks and other improvements. Allowing the public to influence the governing bodies of their local communities is crucial to the functioning of our democracy.

Search public notice websites nationwide at
Visit the Public Notice Resource Center
Download the booklet "Public Notice: American Tradition"