Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, Catoosa County Probate Judge Jeff Hullender and Catoosa County Superior Court Clerk Tracy Brown jointly announced their decision to change the Official Legal Organ of Catoosa County from the Catoosa County News to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Under Georgia law, the Official Legal Organ of a County is the designated newspaper for publication of legal notices and advertisements required under various provisions of the law. Georgia law vests the Sheriff, Probate Judge and Clerk of Court of each County with the authority to designate or change the Official Legal Organ of a County, applying certain legal standards and requirements.
By Joint Resolution adopted on Nov. 30, 2017, the Sheriff, Probate Judge and Clerk of Court concurrently made the decision to change the Official Legal Organ of Catoosa County from the Catoosa County News to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. After the required notice and advertisement period, the change will become effective Jan. 1.
Officials said, "The Chattanooga Times Free Press meets all legal requirements of Georgia law to be designated as the Official Legal Organ of Catoosa County, Georgia.
“As Constitutional Officers duly elected to serve the citizens of Catoosa County, we feel it is our obligation to insure that the important legal notices generated by our respective Offices, which affect important aspects of citizens’ lives, should be published in a manner which will reach the greatest number of citizens as is possible. We do not take this decision, or our responsibility lightly, and, after much research and discussion, we made this decision based on the following factors:
• The subscription rates of the Catoosa County News are very low and the Catoosa County News elected to cease publication and delivery of a free weekly circular to every residence that included the legal advertisements.
• After being made aware of concerns, the Catoosa County News did not present a plan to increase subscription rates to a reasonable number or to reach a larger number of citizens.
• The Catoosa County News is only a weekly publication and advertising requests must be submitted a week in advance for publication the following week. This creates delays in some legal actions and advertisements.
• The legal advertisements being published affect citizens of Catoosa County and the Official Organ should reach as many of those citizens as possible within the legal requirements.
• The Chattanooga Times Free Press subscription rate in Catoosa County is more than double that of the Catoosa County News.
• The Chattanooga Times Free Press rates for official legal advertisements are comparable to those of the Catoosa County News.
• The Chattanooga Times Free Press is opening a physical office in Ringgold which will be staffed Monday-Friday.
• The Chattanooga Times Free Press is a daily publication and advertisements can be presented the day before publication with the exception of weekends.
• The Chattanooga Times Free Press will better serve the overall needs of Catoosa County as the Official Legal Organ.”