Minneapolis residents will read the full text of a revised, “plain language” city charter in the Star Tribune and Finance and Commerce newspapers this fall.
The price tag for the printings: about $70,000.
City Clerk Casey Carl told council members Thursday that Minnesota law required Minneapolis to print the lengthy document in the city’s designated “official newspaper,” Finance and Commerce, which will charge $5,000. But because it didn’t meet a required 25,000 circulation threshold, the city turned to the much larger Star Tribune, which told the city it would cost a whopping $64,545.
The city will pay for printings in both newspapers in the weeks leading up to the November election, when residents will vote on a ballot question asking them to approve an updated, more concise city charter without obsolete language.
“Very interesting… a truly quite large and surprising cost,” Council Member Elizabeth Glidden said after hearing Carl’s report.
She noted that there have been efforts to change these rules, as the Internet is increasingly seen as an important way to connect, but those have yet to succeed.
After the meeting, Carl told me this wasn’t a typical expense – most required public notices are only a few paragraphs. But the revised charter is nearly 14,000 words long.
Still, he said, when he heard the quote from the Star Tribune “my breakfast almost came up.”