Yesterday’s County Commission meeting was billed as a Budget Discussion Meeting, and apparently it was not a public hearing on the county’s budget, because state law requires such a hearing to be advertised in the newspaper or published as a news story, a week in advance. This is different from public notice for other Commission meetings: for budget hearings the notice has to be not just sent to the newspaper: it has to be published, and not in the legal notices section, and it has to appear at least a week before the hearing. It’s also illegal to refuse to provide a copy of the submitted draft budget to the public or the news media:
O.C.G.A. 36-81-5.(d) On the day that the proposed budget is submitted to the governing authority for consideration, a copy of the budget shall be placed in a public location which is convenient to the residents of the unit of local government. The governing authority shall make every effort to provide convenient access to the residents during reasonable business hours so as to accord every opportunity to the public to review the budget prior to adoption by the governing authority. A copy of the budget shall also be made available, upon request, to the news media.
LAKE is a news medium, according to federal law.