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Take Notice: How Sarasota County Revolutionized Public Announcements


A new Florida law allowed counties to publish public notices on publicly accessible websites. Sarasota County jumped at the opportunity, streamlining its notice practice to improve citizen accessibility while reducing government costs.

“Citizens in the past had to have a newspaper subscription or buy a newspaper to learn about our notices. Now they can visit our site. They can learn about government projects and provide their input if they choose.”
Katie White, Public Notice Supervisor, Sarasota County


  • $200K annual savings
  • 1K+ monthly page views
  • 71% open rate
  • 50% less lead time required to publish
Must have Granicus Solutions

An Opportunity to Modernize

Property owners, residents and interested parties throughout Sarasota County were used to subscribing to (and paying for) access to local newspapers to view published public notices and legal advertisements. An update to Florida Statutes in 2022 allowed counties the option to publish applicable public notices and legal advertisements on publicly accessible websites. Sarasota County welcomed the opportunity to improve citizen accessibility, streamlining its notice practice while reducing government costs—one of the conditions to allow publication within its online platform.

For Sarasota County, the decision to streamline and go digital was simple.

“We spent roughly $200,000 a year to publish these notices,” said Ryan Via, Sarasota County public notice coordinator. “We had to work on the newspaper’s timelines, re-issue notices if there was a mistake. It was cumbersome and time-consuming.”


Streamlining the Public Notice Process

While many Florida counties took more of a wait-and-see approach, Sarasota County dove in headfirst. The staff set out to refine the notice process and explored solutions that met both the state guidelines and the county’s high customer service and service delivery standards. The result was the Public Notices Program, created and maintained by Sarasota County staff.

They chose the Granicus Content Management System (CMS) that met its efficient and effective notification delivery and maintenance needs—a system already in use by Sarasota County. As another bonus, the platform also met all legal requirements, and “it was easy to use,” said Katie White, Sarasota County public notice supervisor.

The last part is significant. Like a lot of large municipalities, Sarasota County publishes notices almost daily. With Granicus, the county could process public notices/legal advertisements in half the time as before while significantly reducing publishing costs.

The notices were given a dedicated section on the Sarasota County website (with a friendly URL). The Granicus CMS also made it simple to apply ADA compliance standards, improve readability, and include additional tools and information, such as embedded GIS maps of active land use petitions requiring at least two public hearing notices.

Sarasota County has strategically positioned the News Story and Send by govDelivery CMS functions as crucial program elements. The News Story feature allows them to upload public notices and schedule them to post later per Florida Statutes. The News Story feature also allows these notices to be archived automatically, saving time, and further streamlining the process.


A Model for Other Counties

The public notices webpage averages more than 1,000 page views per month, many of which come from direct sources that indicate community awareness and access.

The implemented email subscription feature has garnered over 200 monthly subscribers and an open rate average of 71% (average open rates for government and the public sector hover between 20-30%).

In addition to the increased accessibility and ease of use, Sarasota County has reduced overall costs by more than half through the strategic and thoughtful move to a digital format for advertising public notices. The switch to an online system also provides quicker and simpler access for all citizens.

With the project’s early success, Sarasota County has become a model for other counties who want to follow suit.

“Citizens in the past had to have a newspaper subscription or buy a newspaper to learn about our notices,” White said. “Now they can visit our site. They can learn about government projects and provide their input if they choose.”

White added that citizens without immediate internet access can visit a local library free of charge. The public notices site is also mobile-friendly. “It is a much more accessible solution,” she said.

Sarasota County Government is a recipient of the 2023 Granicus Digital Government Operational Excellence Award for its innovative approach to the public notice process.