Job Bid Invoice by gzs10466

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									          HARRIS COUNTY                                                                    JOB NO.: 06/0288
                BID COVER SHEET                                                     Date Due: MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2006
                                                                                         DUE NO LATER THAN 2:00 P.M.
                                                                                        LOCAL TIME IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
                                                                                    Bids received later than the date and time
                                                                                    above will not be considered.


   BID FOR: Publication of Public Notices for Harris County (Beginning September 11, 2006 and ending
   September 10, 2007)
                                                       OFFERORS NOTE!!

  Carefully read all instructions, requirements and                       Please return bid in an appropriately sized envelope or
  specifications. Fill out all forms properly and completely.             box. PACKAGE MUST SHOW THE JOB NUMBER,
  Submit your bid with all appropriate supplements and/or                 DESCRIPTION AND BE MARKED "SEALED BID".
  samples.

                                                RETURN BID TO:
                                      HARRIS COUNTY PURCHASING AGENT
                                        1001 PRESTON AVENUE, SUITE 670
                                              HOUSTON, TEXAS 77002

For additional information, contact: Vivian Groce at 713-755-2606 or email vivian_groce@co.harris.tx.us

You must sign below in INK; failure to sign WILL disqualify the offer. All prices must be typewritten or written in
ink.
                                           Total Amount of Bid: $

Company Name:

Company Address:

City, State, Zip Code:

Taxpayer Identification Number (T.I.N.):

Telephone No. :                               FAX No.:                          e-mail:

Print Name:

Signature: ___________________________________________________________________________________

[Your signature attests to your offer to provide the goods and/or services in this bid according to the published provisions of this Job.
When an award letter is issued, it becomes a part of this contract. Contract is not valid until Purchase Order is issued.]

ACCEPTED BY:_____________________________________________                                             Date:_____________________
            HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE ROBERT ECKELS
VJG/dlm

Revised 12/04




                                                                                                                              Page 1 of 22
                                                        TABLE OF CONTENTS
Items checked below represent components which comprise this bid/proposal package. If the item IS NOT checked, it is NOT
APPLICABLE to this bid/proposal. Offerors are asked to review the package to be sure that all applicable parts are included. If any portion
of the package is missing, notify the Purchasing Department immediately.

It is the Offeror's responsibility to be thoroughly familiar with all Requirements and Specifications. Be sure you understand the following
before you return your bid packet.
__X__ 1.            Cover Sheet
                    Your company name, address, the total amount of the bid/proposal, and your signature (IN INK) should appear on this
                    page.

__X__ 2.          Table of Contents
                  This page is the Table of Contents.

__X__ 3.          General Requirements
                  You should be familiar with all of the General Requirements.

__X__ 4.          Special Requirements/Instructions
                  This section provides information you must know in order to make an offer properly.

__X__ 5.          Specifications
                  This section contains the detailed description of the product/service sought by the County.

__X__ 6.          Pricing/Delivery Information
                  This form is used to solicit exact pricing of goods/services and delivery costs.

__X__ 7.          Attachments
                  __X__ a.           Residence Certification/Tax Form
                                     Be sure to complete this form and return with packet.

                  _____    b.        Bid Guaranty & Performance Bond Information & Requirements
                                     This form applies only to certain bids/proposals. All public work contracts over $25,000 require a
                                     Payment Bond and over $100,000 must also have a Performance Bond, in a form approved by the
                                     County. Please read carefully and fill out completely.

                  _____    c.        Bid Check Return Authorization Form
                                     This form applies only to certain bids/proposals. Please read carefully and fill out completely.

                  _____    d.        Vehicle Delivery Instructions
                                     Included only when purchasing vehicles.

                  __X__ e.           Minimum Insurance Requirements
                                     Included when applicable (does not supersede "Hold Harmless" section of General Requirements).

                  __X__ f.           Worker’s Compensation Insurance Coverage Rule 110.110
                                     This requirement is applicable for a building or construction contract.

                  _____    g.        Financial Statement
                                     When this information is required, you must use this form.

                  _____    h.        Reference Sheet
                                     When this information is required, you must use this sheet.

                  _____    i.        HIPAA Requirements

                  ___X__ j.          Other
                                     From time to time other attachments may be included.

Revised 03/04



                                                                                                                                   Page 2 of 22
                                      GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR BIDS

READ THIS ENTIRE DOCUMENT CAREFULLY.    FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS.    YOU ARE
RESPONSIBLE FOR FULFILLING ALL REQUIREMENTS AND SPECIFICATIONS. BE SURE YOU
UNDERSTAND THEM.

General Requirements apply to all advertised bids; however, these may be superseded, whole or in part, by the SPECIAL
REQUIREMENTS/INSTRUCTIONS OR OTHER DATA CONTAINED HEREIN. Review the Table of Contents. Be
sure your bid package is complete.

ACCESS TO RECORDS
In special circumstances, vendor may be required to allow duly authorized representatives of Harris County, the Harris
County Hospital District or the state and federal government access to contracts, books, documents, and records
necessary to verify the nature and extent of the cost of services provided by vendor.

ADDENDA
When specifications are revised, the Harris County Purchasing Department will issue an addendum addressing the nature
of the change. Offerors must sign and include it in the returned bid package.

ASSIGNMENT
The successful offeror may not assign, sell or otherwise transfer this contract without written permission of Harris
County Commissioners Court.

AWARD
Harris County reserves the right to award this contract on the basis of LOWEST AND BEST OFFER in accordance with
the laws of the State of Texas, to waive any formality or irregularity, to make awards to more than one offeror, to reject
any or all bids. In the event the lowest dollar offeror meeting specifications is not awarded a contract, the offeror may
appear before the Commissioners Court, Hospital District Board of Managers, Community Supervision & Corrections
Department Board, the Juvenile Board or other applicable governing body and present evidence concerning his
responsibility after officially notifying the Office of the Purchasing Agent of his intent to appear.

BID FORM COMPLETION
Fill out and return to the Harris County Purchasing Department ONE (1) complete bid form in an appropriately sized
envelope or box. PACKAGE MUST SHOW THE JOB NUMBER, DESCRIPTION AND BE MARKED “SEALED
BID.” An authorized representative of the offeror should sign the Bid Cover Sheet. The contract will be binding only
when signed by Harris County, funds are certified by the County Auditor and or the Hospital District, as applicable, and a
Purchase Order issued.

BID RETURNS
Offerors must return all completed bids to the Harris County Purchasing Department reception desk at 1001 Preston
Avenue, Suite 670, Houston, Texas before 2:00 P.M. LOCAL TIME IN HOUSTON, TEXAS on the date specified.
Late bids will not be accepted.

BONDS
If this bid requires submission of bid guarantee and performance bond, there will be a separate page explaining those
requirements. Bids submitted without the required bid bond or cashier's checks are not acceptable.



Revised 09/05




                                                                                                              Page 3 of 22
CERTIFICATION REGARDING DEBARMENT, SUSPENSION INELIGIBILITY, AND VOLUNTARY
EXCLUSION
The Contractor certifies by execution of this Contract that it is not ineligible for participation in federal or state assistance
programs under Executive Order 12549, "Debarment and Suspension." The Contractor further agrees to include this
certification in all contracts between itself and any subcontractors in connection with the services performed under this
Contract. Contractor also certifies that contractor will notify Harris County in writing immediately if contractor is not in
compliance with Executive Order 12549 during the term of this contract. Contractor agrees to refund Harris County for
any payments made to the contractor while ineligible.

COLOR SELECTION
Determination of colors of materials is a right reserved by the using department unless otherwise specified in the bid.
Unspecified colors shall be quoted as standard colors, NOT colors which require up charges or special handling.
Unspecified fabrics or vinyls should be construed as medium grade. If offeror fails to get color/material approvals prior
to delivery of merchandise, the using department may refuse to accept the items and demand correct shipment without
penalty, subject to other legal remedies.

CONTRACT OBLIGATION
Harris County Commissioners Court must award the contract and the County Judge or other person authorized by the
Harris County Commissioners Court must sign the contract before it becomes binding on Harris County or the offerors.
Department heads are NOT authorized to sign agreements for Harris County. Binding agreements shall remain in effect
until all products and/or services covered by this purchase have been satisfactorily delivered and accepted.

CONTRACT RENEWALS
Renewals may be made ONLY by written agreement between Harris County and the offeror. Any price escalations are
limited to those stated by the offeror in the original bid.

DIGITAL FORMAT
If offeror obtained the bid specifications in digital format in order to prepare a response, the bid must be submitted in
hard copy according to the instructions contained in this bid package. If, in its bid response, offeror makes any changes
whatsoever to the County's published bid specifications, the County's bid specifications as published shall control.
Furthermore, if an alteration of any kind to the County's published bid specifications is only discovered after the contract
is executed and is or is not being performed, the contract is subject to immediate cancellation.

DISQUALIFICATION OF OFFEROR
Upon signing this bid document, an offeror offering to sell supplies, materials, services, or equipment to Harris County
certifies that the offeror has not violated the antitrust laws of this state codified in Texas Business and Commerce Code
§15.01, et seq., as amended, or the federal antitrust laws, and has not communicated directly or indirectly the bid made to
any competitor or any other person engaged in such line of business. Any or all bids may be rejected if the County
believes that collusion exists among the offerors. Bids in which the prices are obviously unbalanced may be rejected. If
multiple bids are submitted by an offeror and after the bids are opened, one of the bids is withdrawn, the result will be
that all of the bids submitted by that offeror will be withdrawn; however, nothing herein prohibits a vendor from
submitting multiple bids for different products or services.

E-MAIL ADDRESSES CONSENT
Vendor affirmatively consents to the disclosure of its e-mail addresses that are provided to Harris County, the Harris
County Flood Control District, the Harris County Hospital District including its HMO, the Harris County Appraisal
District, or any agency of Harris County. This consent is intended to comply with the requirements of the Texas Public
Information Act, Tex. Gov‟t Code Ann. §522.137, as amended, and shall survive termination of this agreement. This
consent shall apply to e-mail addresses provided by Vendor, its employees, officers, and agents acting on Vendor‟s behalf
and shall apply to any e-mail address provided in any form for any reason whether related to this bid/proposal or
otherwise.
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                                                                                                                    Page 4 of 22
EVALUATION
Evaluation shall be used as a determinant as to which bid items or services are the most efficient and/or most economical
for the County. It shall be based on all factors which have a bearing on price and performance of the items in the user
environment. All bids are subject to tabulation by the Harris County Purchasing Department and recommendation to the
appropriate governing body. Compliance with all bid requirements, delivery and needs of the using department are
considerations in evaluating bids. Pricing is NOT the only criteria for making a recommendation. The Harris
County Purchasing Department reserves the right to contact any offeror, at any time, to clarify, verify or request
information with regard to any bid.

FISCAL FUNDING
A multi-year lease or lease/purchase arrangement (if requested by the Special Requirements/Instructions), or any contract
continuing as a result of an extension option, must include fiscal funding out. If, for any reason, funds are not
appropriated to continue the lease or contract, said lease or contract shall become null and void on the last day of the
current appropriation of funds. After expiration of the lease, leased equipment shall be removed by the offeror from the
using department without penalty of any kind or form to Harris County. All charges and physical activity related to
delivery, installation, removal and redelivery shall be the responsibility of the offeror.

GOVERNING FORMS
In the event of any conflict between the terms and provisions of these requirements and the specifications, the
specifications shall govern. In the event of any conflict of interpretation of any part of this overall document, Harris
County's interpretation shall govern.

GOVERNING LAW
This bid solicitation is governed by the competitive bidding requirements of the County Purchasing Act, Texas Local
Government Code, §262.021 et seq., as amended. Offerors shall comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and
regulations. Offeror is further advised that these requirements shall be fully governed by the laws of the State of Texas and
that Harris County may request and rely on advice, decisions and opinions of the Attorney General of Texas and the County
Attorney concerning any portion of these requirements.

GRANT FUNDING
Any contract entered into by the County that is to be paid from grant funds shall be limited to payment from the grant
funding and the vendor/provider understands that the County has not set aside any County funds for the payment of
obligations under a grant contract. If grant funding should become unavailable at any time for the continuation of
services paid for by the grant, and further funding cannot be obtained for the contract, then the sole recourse of the
provider shall be to terminate any further services under the contract and the contract shall be null and void.

HIPAA COMPLIANCE
Offeror agrees to comply with the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information of the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, PL 104-191, 45 CFR Parts 160-164, as amended, and the Texas
Medical Records Privacy Act, Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 181, as amended, collectively referred to as
"HIPAA", to the extent that the Offeror uses, discloses or has access to protected health information as defined by
HIPAA. Offeror may be required to enter a Business Associate Agreement pursuant to HIPAA.

HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT
Contractor, the successful offeror, shall indemnify and hold Harris County harmless from all claims for personal injury,
death and/or property damage resulting directly or indirectly from contractor's performance. Contractor shall procure and
maintain, with respect to the subject matter of this bid, appropriate insurance coverage including, as a minimum, public
liability and property damage with adequate limits to cover contractor's liability as may arise directly or indirectly from
work performed under terms of this bid. Certification of such coverage must be provided to the County upon request.

Revised 09/05




                                                                                                                 Page 5 of 22
INSPECTIONS & TESTING
Harris County reserves the right to inspect any item(s) or service location for compliance with specifications and
requirements and needs of the using department. If an offeror cannot furnish a sample of a bid item, where applicable,
for review, or fails to satisfactorily show an ability to perform, the County can reject the bid as inadequate.

INVOICES AND PAYMENTS
Offerors shall submit an original invoice on each purchase order or purchase release after each delivery, indicating the
purchase order number. Invoices must be itemized. Any invoice, which cannot be verified by the contract price and/or is
otherwise incorrect, will be returned to the offeror for correction. Under term contracts, when multiple deliveries and/or
services are required, the offeror may invoice following each delivery and the County will pay on invoice. Contracts
providing for a monthly charge will be billed and paid on a monthly basis only. Prior to any and all payments made for
goods and/or services provided under this contract, the offeror should provide his Taxpayer Identification Number or
social security number as applicable. This information must be on file with the Harris County Auditor‟s office. Failure
to provide this information may result in a delay in payment and/or back-up withholding as required by the Internal
Revenue Service.

MAINTENANCE
Maintenance required for equipment bid should be available in Harris County by a manufacturer-authorized maintenance
facility. Costs for this service shall be shown on the Pricing/Delivery Information form. If Harris County opts to include
maintenance, it shall be so stated in the purchase order and said cost will be included. Service will commence only upon
expiration of applicable warranties and should be priced accordingly.

MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS
Under the "Hazardous Communication Act", commonly known as the "Texas Right To Know Act", an offeror must
provide to the County with each delivery, material safety data sheets which are applicable to hazardous substances
defined in the Act. Failure of the offeror to furnish this documentation will be cause to reject any bid applying thereto.

NAME BRANDS
Specifications may reference name brands and model numbers. It is not the intent of Harris County to restrict these bids
in such cases, but to establish a desired quality level of merchandise or to meet a pre-established standard due to like
existing items. Offerors may offer items of equal stature and the burden of proof of such stature rests with offerors.
Harris County shall act as sole judge in determining equality and acceptability of products offered.

NEW MILLENIUM COMPLIANCE
All products and/or services furnished as part of this contract must be compliant for the present year and forward. This
applies to all computers including hardware and software as well as all other commodities with date sensitive embedded
chips.

POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
An outside consultant or contractor is prohibited from submitting a bid for services on a Harris County project of which
the consultant or contractor was a designer or other previous contributor, or was an affiliate, subsidiary, joint venturer or
was in any other manner associated by ownership to any party that was a designer or other previous contributor. If such a
consultant or contractor submits a prohibited bid, that bid shall be disqualified on the basis of conflict of interest, no
matter when the conflict is discovered by Harris County. Potential bidders are advised that they may have disclosure
requirements pursuant to Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 176. This law requires persons desiring to do business
with the County to disclose any gifts valued in excess of $250 given to any County Official or the County Official‟s
family member, or employment of any County Official or the County Official‟s family member during the preceding
twelve (12) month period. The disclosure questionnaire must be filed with the Harris County Clerk. Refer to Texas
Local Government Code, Chapter 176 for the details of this law.



Revised 09/05




                                                                                                                 Page 6 of 22
PRICING
Prices for all goods and/or services shall be firm for the duration of this contract and shall be stated on the
Pricing/Delivery Information form. Prices shall be all inclusive: No price changes, additions, or subsequent
qualifications will be honored during the course of the contract. All prices must be written in ink or typewritten.
Pricing on all transportation, freight, drayage and other charges are to be prepaid by the contractor and included in the bid
prices. If there are any additional charges of any kind, other than those mentioned above, specified or unspecified,
offeror MUST indicate the items required and attendant costs or forfeit the right to payment for such items. Where unit
pricing and extended pricing differ, unit pricing prevails.

PURCHASE ORDER AND DELIVERY
The successful offeror shall not deliver products or provide services without a Harris County Purchase Order, signed by
an authorized agent of the Harris County Purchasing Department. The fastest, most reasonable delivery time shall be
indicated by the offeror in the proper place on the Pricing/Delivery Information form. Any special information
concerning delivery should also be included, on a separate sheet, if necessary. All items shall be shipped F.O.B. INSIDE
DELIVERY unless otherwise stated in the specifications. This shall be understood to include bringing merchandise to
the appropriate room or place designated by the using department. Every tender or delivery of goods must fully comply
with all provisions of these requirements and the specifications including time, delivery and quality. Nonconformance
shall constitute a breach which must be rectified prior to expiration of the time for performance. Failure to rectify within
the performance period will be considered cause to reject future deliveries and cancellation of the contract by Harris
County without prejudice to other remedies provided by law. Where delivery times are critical, Harris County
reserves the right to award accordingly.

RECYCLED MATERIALS
Harris County encourages the use of products made of recycled materials and shall give preference in purchasing to
products made of recycled materials if the products meet applicable specifications as to quantity and quality. Harris
County will be the sole judge in determining product preference application.

SEVERABILITY
If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or word of these requirements or the specifications shall be
held invalid, such holding shall not affect the remaining portions of these requirements and the specifications and it is
hereby declared that such remaining portions would have been included in these requirements and the specifications as
though the invalid portion had been omitted.

SILENCE OF SPECIFICATIONS
The apparent silence of specifications as to any detail, or the apparent omission from it of a detailed description
concerning any point, shall be regarded as meaning that only the best commercial practice is to prevail and that only
material and workmanship of the finest quality are to be used. All interpretations of specifications shall be made on the
basis of this statement. The items furnished under this contract shall be new, unused of the latest product in production to
commercial trade and shall be of the highest quality as to materials used and workmanship. Manufacturer furnishing
these items shall be experienced in design and construction of such items and shall be an established supplier of the item
bid.

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS
Offerors are responsible for including all pertinent product data in the returned bid package. Literature, brochures, data
sheets, specification information, completed forms requested as part of the bid package and any other facts which may
affect the evaluation and subsequent contract award should be included. Materials such as legal documents and
contractual agreements, which the offeror wishes to include as a condition of the bid, must also be in the returned bid
package. Failure to include all necessary and proper supplemental materials may be cause to reject the entire bid.



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                                                                                                                 Page 7 of 22
TAXES
Harris County is exempt from all federal excise, state and local taxes unless otherwise stated in this document. Harris
County claims exemption from all sales and/or use taxes under Texas Tax Code §151.309, as amended. Texas Limited
Sales Tax Exemption Certificates will be furnished upon written request to the Harris County Purchasing Agent.

TERM CONTRACTS
If the contract is intended to cover a specific time period, the term will be given in the specifications under SCOPE.

TERMINATION
Harris County reserves the right to terminate the contract for default if offeror breaches any of the terms therein,
including warranties of offeror or if the offeror becomes insolvent or commits acts of bankruptcy. Such right of
termination is in addition to and not in lieu of any other remedies which Harris County may have in law or equity.
Default may be construed as, but not limited to, failure to deliver the proper goods and/or services within the proper
amount of time, and/or to properly perform any and all services required to Harris County's satisfaction and/or to meet all
other obligations and requirements. Harris County may terminate the contract without cause upon thirty (30) days written
notice.

TITLE TRANSFER
Title and Risk of Loss of goods shall not pass to Harris County until Harris County actually receives and takes possession
of the goods at the point or points of delivery. Receiving times may vary with the using department. Generally,
deliveries may be made between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Offerors are advised to consult the
using department for instructions. The place of delivery shall be shown under the "Special Requirements/Instructions"
section of this bid package and/or on the Purchase Order as a "Deliver To:" address.

WAIVER OF SUBROGATION
Offeror and offeror's insurance carrier waive any and all rights whatsoever with regard to subrogation against Harris
County as an indirect party to any suit arising out of personal or property damages resulting from offeror's performance
under this agreement.

WARRANTIES
Offerors shall furnish all data pertinent to warranties or guarantees which may apply to items in the bid. Offerors may
not limit or exclude any implied warranties. Offeror warrants that product sold to the County shall conform to the
standards established by the U.S. Department of Labor under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. In the
event product does not conform to OSHA Standards, where applicable, Harris County may return the product for
correction or replacement at the offeror's expense. If offeror fails to make the appropriate correction within a reasonable
time, Harris County may correct at the offeror's expense.



                                              VENDORS OWING TAXES
Pursuant to TX Local Government Code 262.0276, Harris County Commissioners Court has adopted a policy which
requires that vendors‟ taxes be current as of the date bids/proposals are due. Bidders with delinquent taxes on the due
date will not be eligible for award. Whether or not a vendor‟s taxes are delinquent will be determined by an independent
review of the Tax Office records. Vendors who believe a delinquency is reflected in error must contact the Tax Office to
correct any errors or discrepancies prior to submitting their bid in order to ensure that their bid will be considered. Tax
records are available online at the Tax Office website—www.hctax.net. Prior to submitting a bid, vendors are
encouraged to visit the Tax Office website, set up a portfolio of their accounts and make their own initial determination
of the status of their tax accounts. Furthermore, if, during the performance of this contract, a vendor‟s taxes become
delinquent, Harris County reserves the right to provide notice to the Auditor or Treasurer pursuant to Texas Local
Government Code §154.045. This policy is effective for all bids due on or after May 1, 2004.


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                                                                                                                Page 8 of 22
                              SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS/INSTRUCTIONS

The following requirements and instructions supersede General Requirements where applicable.

BID REQUIREMENTS
Bidder should submit as a bid this entire bid document, completed where necessary, for example, the Bid Cover
Sheet, Pricing/Delivery Information, Residence Certification/Tax Form, etc. Use the envelope provided with
the bid, or a comparable one, clearly indicating on the outside of the envelope the Job Number, Job Description,
and marked “SEALED BID.” Harris County shall not be responsible for any effort or cost expended in the
preparation of a response to this bid. All protests should be coordinated through the Purchasing Office prior to
award recommendation to Commissioners Court.

PRICING
The County reserves the right to receive the best discount or special pricing offered to any other customer if the
discount or special pricing is better than the contract rate quoted.

INVOICING
Harris County will pay original invoices that clearly itemize the goods and/or services provided as to quantity,
description, price, etc. Invoices must indicate the address and/or department to which the goods and/or services
were delivered, and the applicable purchase order number. A copy of the advertisement or other printed
material shall also accompany the invoice. Only charges as stated on the Pricing/Delivery Information Sheet
submitted as a part of the bid will be considered.

The following sample invoices along with a sample ad must be included in with your bid:

1.     Sample invoice based on a 1x3.75” notice placed in the Classified Section.

2.     Sample invoice based on a 1x3.75” notice placed anywhere in newspaper, not including the Classified
       Section (Run of Paper.)

AWARD
Harris County will award the contract to the newspaper meeting the criteria of a “newspaper of general
circulation” that meets all requirements as detailed in the Specifications, and the lowest and best bid. Harris
County reserves the right to award the contract to a primary and secondary vendor. It is anticipated that the
primary vendor‟s service will be used most often, and the secondary vendor‟s service will be used under
circumstances that will be determined by the Purchasing Agent (or as required by law).




                                                                                                       Page 9 of 22
                                             SPECIFICATIONS


                           Publication of Public Notices for Harris County


SCOPE
Harris County is seeking bids from qualified vendors for publication of public notices for Harris County and
related entities beginning September 11, 2006 through September 10, 2007. The publisher‟s newspaper shall
meet the requirements of a “newspaper of general circulation,” as described in Texas Attorney General‟s
Opinion No. JC-0223.

Vendors are encouraged to review this entire document upon receipt. All questions should be emailed to
vivian_groce@co.harris.tx.us or faxed to Vivian Groce at (713) 755-2606 or by 3:00 p.m. on August 14, 2006.

RENEWAL OPTION
Harris County shall have the option for four (4) one-year renewals, based upon the same terms, conditions and
pricing as the original year. Renewal is subject to approval by Harris County Commissioners Court each period.

Harris County retains the option to rebid at any time, if in its best interest, and is not automatically bound
to renewal or rebid.

REQUIREMENTS
Harris County‟s goal is to publish public notices in a newspaper that has paid subscriptions with general
dispersion throughout Harris County (County), with subscriptions available throughout the County. The County
anticipates purchasing approximately 77,000 column lines of public notices, based on historical purchases. The
estimated column lines include notices to be placed in the classified section as well as other sections of the
newspaper. The County reserves the right to purchase more or fewer column lines with no effect upon the rate.
The County includes but is not limited to Harris County, Harris County Flood Control District, Harris County
Toll Road Authority, Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections, the Harris County Hospital
District, and Community Health Choice, Inc. Please see Harris County website @ www.co.harris.tx.us for a
more complete listing of County Departments.

Public notices will include, but are not limited to, notices required by the County‟s Purchasing Act, Probate
Code, Criminal Code, and other numerous state laws in the categories of bids and proposals, legal notices,
public auctions, personnel, etc. Some notices may require photographs (black and white). The majority of the
notices will be placed in the Classified Section of the newspaper; however, the County may place notices
throughout the newspaper.

Special Distribution
At times the County may require insertion and distribution of “Special Inserts” in the newspaper. The “Special
Inserts” may or may not be printed by the newspaper publisher.

On-Line Job Postings
The County may require on-line job postings and on-line banners for job postings.




                                                                                                    Page 10 of 22
                                      SPECIFICATIONS – CONTINUED


Newspaper of General Circulation
In order to be considered for award, the publisher‟s newspaper shall meet the requirements of a “newspaper of
general circulation,” (as described in Texas Attorney General‟s Opinion No. JC-0223, see Exhibit “A”), the
requirements of the Texas Government Code, Section 2051.044, and these Specifications. Please indicate if
your newspaper meets the following criteria, and provide supporting documentation as requested.

       Criteria
1.     The de minimis number of paid subscribers acceptable to Harris County is 12,000.
       Does your newspaper have more than a de minimis number of paid subscribers within Harris County?
       [ ] yes      [ ] no
       Provide the number of paid subscribers:_________

2.     The newspaper circulates “among all classes and is not confined to a particular class or calling in
       the community.”
       Does your newspaper have a diverse group of paid subscribers?
       [ ] yes     [ ] no

3.     Newspaper must circulate within a minimum of 5 (five) zip codes per Commissioners Precinct and must
       have general dispersion throughout Harris County (must not be clustered in limited areas of Harris
       County), and subscriptions must be available throughout Harris County.
       a.    Does your newspaper meet these requirements? [ ] yes          [ ] no
       b.    Submit your newspaper‟s circulation zip codes and zip codes of paid subscribers.
       c.    If your circulation is certified by a circulation bureau(s), provide name(s) of circulation
             bureaus(s) and certified numbers(s).

4.     Newspaper must contain some news, editorials, and advertisements of general character and interest to
       the community.
      a.      Does your newspaper meet these requirements? [ ] yes          [ ] no
       b.     Submit last publication and highlight specific examples of each category.

5.     Newspaper must devote not less than 25 percent of its total column lineage to general interest items.
       a.    Does your newspaper meet this requirement? [ ] yes           [ ] no
       b.    Provide percentage of total column lineage devoted to “general interest” items.
       c.    Submit last publication, and identify “general interest” items.

6.     Newspaper is published at least once each week.
       a.    Does your newspaper meet this requirement? [ ] yes            [ ] no
      b.     Provide publication schedule.

7.     Newspaper is entered as second-class postal matter in Harris County.
       a.    Does your newspaper meet this requirement? [ ] yes          [ ] no
       b.    Submit a copy of USPS Form 3501 (or equivalent) filed and approved by the United States
             Postal Service.

8.     Newspaper has been published regularly and continuously for at least the past 12 months.
       Does your newspaper meet this requirement? [ ] yes       [ ] no


                                                                                                     Page 11 of 22
                                      SPECIFICATIONS - CONTINUED


In order for the County to determine if your newspaper best meets the needs of the County, please provide the
following information:

1.     Font Size (Classified): ____________

2.     Font Size (ROP): ____________

3.     Column Width (Classified): ____________

4.     Column Width (ROP): ____________

5.     Lines per Inch (Classified): ____________

6.     Lines per Inch (ROP): ____________

7.     Lead time required: ____________

8.     Amount of time required for cancellation without penalties: __________________________________
9.     If newspaper publisher makes an error in the printed „public notice‟, explain the procedure for correction
       of the printed „public notice‟ and/or compensation to the County. ____________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
10.    If a daily newspaper, provide number of newspapers printed per day: ____________

11.    If a daily newspaper, provide number of newspapers printed per week: ____________

12.    If a weekly newspaper, provide number of newspapers printed per week: ____________

13.    Day of the week newspaper is published: __________________

14.    Will newspaper publisher insert and distribute “Special Inserts” which may or may not be printed by the
       newspaper publisher? [ ] yes        [ ] no
15.    Does newspaper publisher offer on-line job postings and on-line banners for job postings?
       [ ] yes    [ ] no
       If yes, please describe on-line job postings and on-line banners for job postings. Use additional page if
       required.
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
16.    Will a primary point of contact be assigned to handle the Harris County contract? [ ] yes [ ] no
       If yes, provide the name(s) and contact information of the person(s):
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________
       ___________________________________________________________________________________


                                                                                                     Page 12 of 22
                                    PRICING/DELIVERY INFORMATION


Provide pricing for the publication of public notices, in accordance with the Specifications. The majority of
the notices will be placed in the Classified Section of the newspaper; however, the County may place notices
throughout the newspaper. The County reserves the right to receive the best discount or special pricing offered
to any other customer if the discount or special pricing is better than the contract rate quoted.

Item   Description                             Est. Qty.             Rate                   Total

Classified Section

1.     Daily Rate                              57,000 lines          $____/line             $_______/year

2.     Sunday Rate                             11,000 lines          $____/line             $_______/year

3.     Photographs (Black/White)                   50 each           $____ each             $_______/year
       14”/16” x 14”/16”

Run of Paper

1.     Daily Rate                                 600 inches         $____/inch             $_______/year

2.     Sunday Rate                                100 inches         $____/inch             $_______/year
3.     Photographs (Black/White)                  50 each            $____ each             $_______/year
       14”/16” x 14”/16”

Other
1.    On-Line Job Postings                        12 months          $____/month            $_______/year

2.     On-Line Job Banners                        12 months          $____/month            $_______/year

3.     Distribution of “Special Inserts”       500,000 each          $____ each             $_______/year

       If special pricing is offered based on quantity, please provide quantity breakdown and cost:
       ____________ @ $__________
       ____________ @ $__________
       ____________ @ $__________
       ____________ @ $__________
       ____________ @ $__________

4.     Additional Affidavits                        70 each          $____ each             $_______/year
       (First affidavit provided at no cost)

RENEWAL
Vendor agrees to continue this contract under the same terms, conditions and pricing as the original contract. See
Renewal Option on page 10.



                                                                                                      Page 13 of 22
                                                                            Attachment a
                                                                                                             Job No. 06/0288

                                 RESIDENCE CERTIFICATION/TAX FORM
Pursuant to Texas Government Code §2252.001 et seq., as amended, Harris County requests Residence
Certification. §2252.001 et seq. of the Government Code provides some restrictions on the awarding of
governmental contracts; pertinent provisions of §2252.001 are stated below:

          (3)      "Nonresident bidder" refers to a person who is not a resident.

          (4)      "Resident bidder" refers to a person whose principal place of business is in this state, including a
                   contractor whose ultimate parent company or majority owner has its principal place of business in
                   this state.

          I certify that                             is a Resident Bidder of Texas as defined in
                     [Company Name]
          Government Code §2252.001.

          I certify that                             is a Nonresident Bidder as defined in
                           [Company Name]
          Government Code §2252.001 and our principal place of business is                            .
                                                                              [City and State]

Taxpayer Identification Number (T. I. N.):

Company Name submitting Bid/Proposal:

Mailing Address:

If you are an individual, list the names and addresses of any partnership of which you are a general partner:



PROPERTY: List all taxable property owned by you or above partnerships in Harris County.

Harris County Tax Acct. No.*                  Property address or location**




 * This is the property account identification number assigned by the Harris County Appraisal District.
** For real property, specify the property address or legal description. For business personal property, specify the
   address where the property is located. For example, office equipment will normally be at your office, but inventory
   may be stored at a warehouse or other location.

Do you carry Health Insurance on your employees? ___Yes ___No

If yes, what is the percentage of employees insured? _____%
Revised 08/05



                                                                                                                  Page 14 of 22
                                 EXHIBIT “A”


Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
John Cornyn


                                       May 22, 2000

  The Honorable Ben W. "Bud"                      Opinion No. JC-0223
  Childers Fort Bend County                       Re: What constitutes a "newspaper
  Attorney                                        of general circulation" for the
  301 Jackson, Suite 621                          purpose of publishing legal notices,
  Richmond, Texas 77469-3108                      and related questions (RQ-0160-
                                                  JC)

Dear Mr. Childers:
Numerous statutes require a governmental entity to publish notice of an
upcoming event or a proposed action in a "newspaper of general circulation."
See, e.g., Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 2007.042(a) (Vernon 2000) (requiring
political subdivision that proposes to affect private real-property rights to
publish notice); Tex. Loc. Gov't Code Ann. § 272.001(a) (Vernon Supp. 2000)
(requiring political subdivision to publish offer of land owned by subdivision
for sale); Tex. Water Code Ann. § 11.175(b) (Vernon Supp. 2000) (requiring
Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to publish notice of hearing
to cancel water-appropriation permit). You ask generally how the phrase "a
newspaper of general circulation" is defined with reference to notices a
governmental entity, including a county, is required to publish. See Letter from
Honorable Ben W. "Bud" Childers, Fort Bend County Attorney, to Honorable
John Cornyn, Attorney General of Texas (Dec. 13, 1999) (on file with Opinion
Committee) [hereinafter "Request Letter"]. You specifically ask seven
questions:
1. What constitutes a "newspaper of general circulation" as that phrase is used
in the requirements for publication of legal notices?
2. Is there an objective standard to determine whether a newspaper is one of
general circulation in a given county?
3. In a county with a population of approximately 325,000, is a weekly
newspaper that meets the requirements of Texas Government Code § 2051.044
and that has a subscriber base of approximately 200, a newspaper of general
circulation?
4. In determining whether to award the contract for publication of legal notices
to Newspaper "A," is it permissible to consider the circulation numbers of
Newspaper "B," even though Newspaper "B" would not in and of itself qualify
for the award of the contract (because Newspaper "B" is not entered as a
Periodicals postal matter in Fort Bend County, Texas)?
5. Is it permissible for Commissioners Court to set the minimum number of
subscribers a newspaper must have in the bid specifications?
6. Is it permissible for Commissioners Court to base its lowest and best bid
criteria on the cost per unit or subscriber rather than the price per column inch?
7. Since there are both special and general statutes, each requiring a different
standard for publication, may Commissioners Court require that the newspaper
                                                                                         Page 15 of 22
be one of general circulation when it determines its bid specifications?
Request Letter, supra, at 2.
We conclude generally that a newspaper of general circulation is a newspaper
that has more than a de minimis number of subscribers within a specific
geographic region, has a diverse subscribership, and publishes some items of
general interest to the community. We also conclude that a county
commissioners court generally may specify, in a request for bids, the minimum
number of subscribers a newspaper bidding on a contract to publish county
notices must have if the specification relates to the quality of the goods or
services the county desires to purchase. And we conclude that a county must
"base its lowest and best bid criteria" on the newspaper's lowest published rate
for classified advertising.
The Fort Bend County Purchasing Department recently solicited bids for a term
contract for newspaper publication of legal notices in Fort Bend County. See
Request Letter, supra, at 1. In response, the county has received a bid from a
newspaper with paid subscribers that has a sister publication, produced by the
same publisher, that is distributed free of charge:
One of the bidding newspapers (Newspaper "A") is a local weekly newspaper
that has a circulation of approximately 200 paid and/or requested mail
subscriptions. Slightly less than half of these 200 subscriptions are
paid/requested outside-county mail subscriptions with the remainder being paid
in-county subscriptions. Newspaper "A" devotes more than 25 percent of its
total column lineage to general interest items and has been published regularly
and continuously at least once each week for a number of years. Additionally,
Newspaper "A" is entered as a second-class postal matter (or "Periodicals" as
the U.S. Postal Service now refers to it) in Fort Bend County, Texas.
The publisher of Newspaper "A" also publishes another weekly newspaper
(Newspaper "B"). Newspaper "B" is a local weekly that has a press run of
approximately 56,000 newspapers and is distributed free to homes and
businesses in Fort Bend County. Like Newspaper "A", Newspaper "B" devotes
more than 25 percent of its total column lineage to general interest items and
has been published regularly and continuously at least once each week for a
number of years. However, Newspaper "B" is not entered as a Periodicals
postal matter in Fort Bend County, Texas.
It has been proposed that, if the contract for publication of legal notices is
awarded to Newspaper "A", then Newspaper "B" will also print the legal
notices in its newspaper at no additional charge to the county. Newspaper "B"
cannot in and of itself be awarded the contract since it is not entered as a
Periodicals postal matter and as such does not meet the requirements of Texas
Government Code § 2051.044.
Request Letter, supra, at 1-2.
You first ask what constitutes a newspaper of general circulation for the
purpose of numerous statutes that require a governmental entity, including a
county, to publish notice of a public hearing, a request for proposals, or other
announcement in "a newspaper of general circulation." See Request Letter,
supra, at 2. For example, neither a county nor a municipality may issue bonds
that are to be paid from ad valorem tax revenues unless the issuance has been
approved in an election following the publication of notice in a newspaper of
general circulation "published in the county or municipality holding the
election." Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 1251.003(d)(2) (Vernon 2000); see also Tex.

                                                                                   Page 16 of 22
Elec. Code Ann. § 4.003(a)(1)(B) (Vernon Supp. 2000). And a county
generally may not sell or exchange its real property unless it has notified the
general public of the offer of the land for sale or exchange, "published in a
newspaper of general circulation in either the county in which the land is
located or, if there is no such newspaper, in an adjoining county." See Tex. Loc.
Gov't Code Ann. § 272.001(a) (Vernon Supp. 2000); see also, e.g., Tex. Alco.
Bev. Code Ann. § 11.392(b) (Vernon Supp. 2000) (requiring applicant for a
private club permit renewal to publish notice of renewal application in
"newspaper of general circulation"); Tex. Loc. Gov't Code Ann. § 54.035(b)
(Vernon 1999) (requiring municipal building and standards commission to
publish notice of proceedings before commission in "newspaper of general
circulation" in municipality); Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 314.022(d) (Vernon
1999) (requiring municipal condemnation commission to publish notice of
condemnation hearing "in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in
which the property is located").
As commonly defined, see Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 311.011 (Vernon 1998)
(directing that statutory words and phrases generally should be construed
consistently with common usage or accepted meaning), the phrase "newspaper
of general circulation" describes a newspaper that has more than a de minimis
number of subscribers, has a diverse audience, and contains some news of
general interest to the community. See generally 66 C.J.S. Newspapers § 4
(1998). After studying the decisions available to it, the Iowa Supreme Court, in
a case cited by a Texas court of appeals, devised two criteria for considering
whether a newspaper is one of "general circulation": "First, . . . a newspaper of
general circulation is not determined by the number of its subscribers, but by
the diversity of its subscribers. Second, . . . even though a newspaper is of
particular interest to a particular class of persons, yet, if it contains news of a
general character and interest to the community, although the news may be
limited in amount, it qualifies as a newspaper of 'general circulation.'" Burak v.
Ditson, 229 N.W. 227, 228 (Iowa 1930) (cited in City of Corpus Christi v.
Jones, 144 S.W.2d 388, 393 (Tex. Civ. App.-San Antonio 1940, writ dism'd
judgm't cor.)). The Supreme Court of North Carolina examined cases from
several jurisdictions and devised a similar four-pronged test:
First, it must have a content that appeals to the public generally. Second, it
must have more than a de minimis number of actual paid subscribers in the
taxing unit. Third, its paid subscriber distribution must not be entirely limited
geographically to one community, or section, of the taxing unit. Fourth, it must
be available to anyone in the taxing unit who wishes to subscribe to it.
Great S. Media, Inc. v. McDowell County, 284 S.E.2d 457, 467 (N.C. 1981);
see Ala. Att'y Gen. Op. No. 28 (1997), 1997 WL 1054022, *1 (discussing
Great Southern Media's four-pronged test). Thus, a newspaper of general
circulation "circulates among all classes and is not confined to a particular class
or calling in the community" and includes some general-interest items, so that
the newspaper is one upon which the general public will rely "to be informed of
the news and intelligence of the day, editorial opinion, and advertisements." 66
C.J.S. Newspapers § 4, at 19-20 (1998).
We believe a Texas court would analyze the issue using criteria similar to those
adopted in the Iowa and North Carolina cases. First, more than a de minimis
number of subscribers within the bounds of a certain geographic region, see
Great S. Media, Inc., 284 S.E.2d at 467, is necessary to serve the common-

                                                                                      Page 17 of 22
sense purpose of notifying people within the region. See Dale R. Agthe,
Annotation, What Constitutes Newspaper of "General Circulation" Within
Meaning of State Statutes Requiring Publication of Official Notices and the
Like in Such Newspaper, 24 A.L.R. 4th 825 (1983) (stating that "primary
purpose of the printing of legal notices is to give the widest publicity
practicable"). Second, the Court of Civil Appeals has underlined the
importance of the diversity of a newspaper's readership: it determined that a
daily paper in the City of Dallas with a circulation of about 1,000 "in the
different walks of life" was a newspaper of general circulation. Robinson v.
State, 143 S.W.2d 629, 633 (Tex. Civ. App.-Dallas 1940, writ dism'd judgm't
cor.). Third, in City of Corpus Christi v. Jones the court relied upon the general
contents of a newspaper in determining that it was a newspaper of general
circulation. See City of Corpus Christi, 144 S.W.2d at 393. The court noted the
following characteristics: "[I]t had a circulation of about 4000 in a city of about
45,000 population; . . . about 1200 copies were delivered to paid subscribers,
and although it featured church and Corpus Christi news, it was not dedicated
to any private enterprise. . . . The paper contained news items of general
interest, editorials and advertisements." Id.; cf. Meyer v. Opperman, 13 S.W.
174, 176 (Tex. 1890) (finding, in action on deed of trust, that Galveston
Civilian may, as matter of law, be a newspaper sufficient for notice despite its
limited circulation); Hurt v. Cooper, 63 Tex. 362, 367 (1885) (same).
We accordingly conclude that, to be a newspaper of general circulation, a
newspaper must have more than a de minimis number of subscribers within a
particular geographic region; must have a diverse subscribership; and must
contain some news, editorials, and advertisements of a general character and
interest to the community. See Burak, 229 N.W. at 228; Moore v. Alaska, 553
P.2d 8, 21 (Alaska 1976). Whether a particular newspaper is a newspaper of
general circulation is a question of fact that cannot be determined in the
opinion process. See, e.g., Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. Nos. JC-0032 (1999) at 4
(stating that question of fact is beyond purview of this office); JC-0027 (1999)
at 3 (stating the questions of fact cannot be addressed in attorney general
opinion); JC-0020 (1999) at 2 (stating that investigation and resolution of fact
questions cannot be done in opinion process).
Section 2051.044 of the Government Code is relevant to determine whether a
particular publication is a newspaper in which a governmental entity may
publish notice. Section 2051.044 lists four criteria of a newspaper in which a
notice must be published:
The newspaper in which a notice is published must:
(1) devote not less than 25 percent of its total column lineage to general interest
items;
(2) be published at least once each week;
(3) be entered as second-class postal matter in the county where published; and
(4) have been published regularly and continuously for at least 12 months
before the governmental entity or representative publishes notice.
Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 2051.044(a) (Vernon 2000).
A brief received in connection with your request suggests that a newspaper that
has obtained Periodical mailing privileges (f/k/a "second-class postal matter,"
see id. § 2051.044(a)(3); see also United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail
Manual, Issue 55, reg. E211.1.0 (4/6/00) [hereinafter "Domestic Mail Manual"]
("Effective July 1, 1996, second-class mail was renamed Periodicals.")), and

                                                                                      Page 18 of 22
therefore satisfies section 2051.044(a)(3) of the Government Code, should be
presumed to be a newspaper of general circulation. See Brief from Don R.
Richards, McWhorter, Cobb & Johnson, L.L.P., Attorneys at Law, on behalf of
Texas Press Ass'n, to Honorable John Cornyn, Attorney General (Jan. 24,
2000) (on file with Opinion Committee) [hereinafter "TPA Brief"]. According
to the TPA Brief, the holder of Periodical mailing privileges must produce a
"general publication" that is "'published to disseminate information of a public
character' or is otherwise devoted to matters of social public concern such as
'literature, the sciences, art or some special industry.'" Id. at 4 (quoting
Domestic Mail Manual, supra, reg. E212.1.2). The TPA Brief asserts that the
holder of Periodical mailing privileges also must devote at least twenty-five
percent of the publication's overall content to noncommercial, "news-type
matters of general public interest." Id.; cf. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. §
2051.044(a)(1) (Vernon 2000) (defining "newspaper" as publication that,
among other things, devotes at least twenty-five percent of total column lineage
to general interest items).
Even assuming that the TPA Brief properly characterizes United States Postal
Service regulations, the holder of Periodical mailing privileges is not entitled to
a presumption that the holder publishes a newspaper of general circulation. An
analysis of whether a newspaper is one of general circulation requires not only
an examination of the newspaper's content, but also a determination that the
newspaper's subscribership is more than de minimis and is diverse. It does not
appear that obtaining Periodical mailing privileges requires a consideration of
these factors.
Nor is a newspaper, as defined in section 2051.044 of the Government Code,
necessarily a newspaper of general circulation. See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. §
2051.044(a) (Vernon 2000). Nothing in section 2051.044(a)'s definition
requires an examination of the diversity of a newspaper's subscribership or a
determination that the newspaper serves more than a minimal number of
subscribers. Consequently, a newspaper, as defined in section 2051.044(a), is a
newspaper of general circulation only if it has more than a de minimis number
of subscribers and its subscribership is diverse.
Conversely, a newspaper of general circulation must be a newspaper for the
purposes of section 2051.044, in addition to having more than a de minimis
number of subscribers and a diverse subscribership. To the extent a general or
special law does not specify a contrary "manner of publication," section
2051.044, as part of chapter 2051, subchapter C, governs the publication of a
notice in a newspaper by a governmental entity. See id.
In response to your second question, whether there is an objective standard that
may be used to determine whether a newspaper is one of general circulation,
we conclude there is not. Whether a particular publication is a newspaper under
section 2051.044(a) of the Government Code can be determined objectively by
calculating the publication's percentage of general-interest material; by
determining the number of times the publication is published each week; by
ascertaining whether the publication has been approved for Periodical mailing
privileges; and by considering whether it has been published regularly and
continuously for at least twelve months prior to the publication of the
governmental entity's notice. See id. The remaining components used to
determine whether a particular newspaper is of general circulation, the
proportion of subscribers compared to the general population and the diversity

                                                                                      Page 19 of 22
of the audience, cannot be determined by applying an objective standard.
"There is . . . no fixed number of readers or ratio of readers to the population
necessary for a newspaper to be considered one of general circulation." Gannett
Co. v. Delaware, 1993 WL 19714, *4 (Del. Ch. 1993) (citing Great S. Media,
Inc., 284 S.W.2d at 467); see also Ark. Att'y Gen. Op. No. 90-134, 1990 WL
358833, *3 (and cases cited therein) (summarizing cases determining de
minimis distribution). Whether a newspaper has more than a "trifling" or
"minimal" number of paid subscribers so that the notice may serve to notify the
public, as it is supposed to do, is a question of fact to be determined by the
public official or body that is required to cause the notice to be published. See
Tex. Att'y Gen. LO-97-036, at 3 n.3 (stating that determining whether
particular consideration is "significant" or "de minimis" requires resolution of
fact questions); Va. Att'y Gen. Op. No. 372 (1982), 1982 WL 175548, * 2
(same); Black's Law Dictionary 443 (7th ed. 1999) (defining "de minimis").
Whether a newspaper serves a diverse subscribership also requires a factual
examination of whether the newspaper serves a "special or limited" audience,
such as a "medical, literary, religious, scientific or legal journal," see Great S.
Media, Inc., 284 S.E.2d at 464 (quoting Lynn v. Allen, 44 N.E. 646, 647 (Ind.
1896)), or whether it "circulates among all classes and is not confined to a
particular class or calling in the community." Id. (quoting People v. South
Dearborn Street Bldg. Corp., 24 N.E.2d 373, 374 (Ill. 1939)).
You next ask whether, in a county with a population of approximately 325,000,
a weekly newspaper, as defined by section 2051.044 of the Government Code,
with a subscriber base of approximately 200 is a newspaper of general
circulation. "[I]t is not at all essential, to constitute a newspaper one of 'general
circulation' . . . , that the newspaper be read by all the people of a county,
township, or other community in which it circulates." Dale Agthe, Annotation,
What Constitutes Newspaper of "General Circulation" within Meaning of State
Statutes Requiring Publication of Official Notices and the Like in Such
Newspaper, 24 A.L.R. 4th 822, 826 (1983). Whether a particular newspaper
has more than a de minimis number of subscribers within a county must be
determined by the county commissioners court, the body that is to arrange for
the publication of county notices. See Va. Att'y Gen. Op. No. 372, 1982 WL
175548, at *2.
Fourth, you ask whether, "[i]n determining whether to award the contract for
publication of legal notices to Newspaper 'A,'" the governmental entity may
"consider the circulation numbers of Newspaper 'B,' even though Newspaper
'B' would not in and of itself qualify for the award of the contract." Newspaper
A has paid subscribers, while its sister publication produced by the same press,
Newspaper B, is distributed free of charge to homes and businesses within the
county. See Request Letter, supra, at 1-2. A governmental entity may not
include the circulation numbers of Newspaper B in determining whether
Newspaper A is a newspaper of general circulation. The additional circulation
may, however, be a factor in determining which bid is "the lowest and best."
See Tex. Loc. Gov't Code Ann. § 262.027(a)(1) (Vernon 1999) (directing
county commissioners court normally to award contract to "responsible bidder
who submits the lowest and best bid"); cf. Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. JM-881
(1988) at 3 (explaining that county is not required to accept lowest bid, but
"lowest and best" bid).
You ask fifth whether a commissioners court may set the minimum number of

                                                                                        Page 20 of 22
subscribers a newspaper must have in the bid specifications. A county may
specify the characteristics of the goods or services it desires to purchase. See
Tex. Loc. Gov't Code Ann. § 262.025(b)(1) (Vernon 1999); Tex. Att'y Gen.
Op. No. JC-0124 (1999) at 2. But specifications must be definitely and
objectively related "to matters of quality and competence or . . . adopted" in
accordance with clear legislative authority. See Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. DM-
113 (1992) at 7; see also Texas Highway Comm'n v. Texas Ass'n of Steel
Importers, Inc., 372 S.W.2d 525, 529 (Tex. 1963) (recognizing state agency's
authority to specify quality of goods); Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. JC-0124 (1999)
at 2 (discussing Texas Ass'n of Steel Importers, Inc.); Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No.
JM-1215 (1990) at 3 (same). While we believe an argument can be made that a
specification regarding the minimum number of subscribers is related to the
effectiveness of published public notices, whether a certain specification is in
fact directly related to the quality of item to be purchased is a fact question. See
Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. JM-1215 (1990) at 4.
In answer to your sixth question, we conclude that a county commissioners
court may not "base its lowest and best bid criteria on the cost per unit or
subscriber rather than the price per column inch." Request Letter, supra, at 2.
Section 2051.045 of the Government Code sets the legal rate for publication of
notice in a newspaper: "The legal rate for publication of a notice in a
newspaper is the newspaper's lowest published rate for classified advertising."
Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 2051.045 (Vernon 2000). Consequently, a county must
"base its lowest and best bid criteria" on the newspaper's lowest published rate
for classified advertising. The statute does not specify that the rate must be
articulated as a "price per column inch," but the statute does not permit the
county commissioners court to require a newspaper to compete on a rate
system other than that it normally uses.
Finally, you ask whether a county commissioners court may require in its bid
specifications that the newspaper be one of general circulation, although "there
are both special and general statutes, each requiring a different standard for
publication." Request Letter, supra, at 2. You do not indicate what statutes you
mean, nor have you provided any briefing. Consequently, we can offer only the
most general advice.
A county may not publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation if such a
newspaper would be inconsistent with the specific statute requiring the notice.
See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 311.026 (Vernon 1998) (stating that specific
statute normally controls over inconsistent general statute). Publishing notice in
a newspaper of general circulation may not, in certain circumstances, satisfy
specific statutory requirements regarding the location of publication. Section
202.043 of the Agriculture Code requires the governing board of a wind
erosion conservation district, the boundaries of which must be coextensive with
county boundaries, to publish notice of an assessment hearing "in a newspaper
of general circulation" that is published in the county. See Tex. Agric. Code
Ann. § 202.043(c) (Vernon 1982); see Christy v. Williams, 292 S.W.2d 348,
352 (Tex. Civ. App.-Galveston 1956), writ dism'd, 298 S.W.2d 565 (Tex.
1957) (defining "published") (quoting Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. C-7286 (1946)
at 3). Under such a statute, a wind erosion conservation district could not
publish its notice only in a newspaper of general circulation that is not
published within the county.
                                  SUMMARY

                                                                                       Page 21 of 22
A newspaper of general circulation is a newspaper that has more than a de
minimis number of subscribers among a particular geographic region, that has a
diverse subscribership, and that publishes some items of general interest to the
community. See also Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 2051.044(a) (Vernon 2000)
(defining "newspaper"). Whether a particular newspaper is generally circulated
is a question of fact. In determining whether a particular newspaper is a
newspaper of general circulation for the purposes of publishing official notices,
a governmental entity may not combine the subscriber numbers of that
newspaper with the circulation numbers of a separate newspaper that is sent out
free of charge to nonsubscribers.
So long as the specification relates to the quality of the goods and services a
county desires to purchase, the commissioners court may specify, in a request
for bids, the minimum number of subscribers a newspaper bidding on a
contract to publish county notices must have. A county must "base its lowest
and best bid criteria" on the newspaper's lowest published rate for classified
advertising. See id. § 2051.045. A county may not publish notice in a
newspaper of general circulation if such a newspaper would be inconsistent
with the specific statute requiring the notice.
                Yours very truly,




                JOHN CORNYN
                Attorney General of Texas
ANDY TAYLOR
First Assistant Attorney General
CLARK KENT ERVIN
Deputy Attorney General - General Counsel
ELIZABETH ROBINSON
Chair, Opinion Committee
Kymberly K. Oltrogge
Assistant Attorney General - Opinion Committee

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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