GRANTS PASS – Grants Pass city councilors gave a “thumbs up” to a newly expanded and more regularly produced edition of the city’s information newsletter at their workshop Monday, Nov. 18. The new format will include a 12-page tabloid sized publication on standard newsprint to be produced on a monthly basis. The new publication format will replace the previous version of the city’s newsletter which used to include a 4-page glossy that was folded and inserted into city water bills.
The history of GP Now dates to as early as 1991, when the city used to issue a four-page newsletter every two months on 8.5 x 11-inch paper in a booklet format with two-color printing. By the middle of 2007, the newsletter’s traditional blue banner and headings were replaced with a new green color, and in 2014, full color was added to the pages.
In December 2015, the newsletter was given the new title, GP Now, and saw another change in format to a full-color glossy booklet, and in June 2016, the banner of the new GP Now began to incorporate the city’s award-winning “Live Rogue” branding elements, such as officially adopted colors, fonts, and logos.
“GP Now has been through multiple incarnations over the decades to improve its quality, content, and ability to provide information to our community. This new version is in keeping with the long-established mission of the publication,” said Steven Sabel, information coordinator for the city.
Sabel works directly under the supervision of City Recorder Karen Frerk. Part of his duties include assisting the City Recorder’s office with maintaining a record of city actions, policies, events, and services, he said.
“This new format expands the amount of information we can disseminate to the public on a regular basis about what is going on at City Hall,” said Sabel. “We made the decision to go with newsprint, because it is the most cost-effective printing option available to us,” he said.
Sabel said the cost of printing each edition of the newly formatted publication is now approximately $500 less per issue than the 4-page glossy format. However, the cost for distributing the new format will increase, as it will no longer fit inside city issued water bills.
“The newly formatted GP Now will be mailed directly to more than 13,000 homes within the 17 major US Postal Service carrier routes serving Grants Pass city limits. Additional copies will be distributed throughout the city at local eateries, medical offices, salons, coffee houses, and any location that wishes to receive them. This way, everyone can have access to the information, whether they are a water utility customer or not,” said Sabel.
Sabel said he will also be distributing the newsletter to local; real estate offices for distribution to potential new residents, and working with Jo Woerner, the city’s webmaster, to provide access to the content in a digital format.
“We want to make sure that everyone can have access to this important information,” Sabel said.
Funding for the first six issues of the new GP Now has been sourced from existing line items in the city budget, including funding for the newsletter that has been underutilized this year, and funds allotted for public service announcements and/or advertising of special events or services. Additional off-setting cost savings will be realized in the Finance Department budget due to no longer paying to process the newsletter for insertion into monthly water bills.
“On the one hand, we are saving money with the new format and no longer paying to include it in the water bills. On the other hand, the US Postal Service charges their fees for delivery,” said Sabel.
The city council will reevaluate the new format for its effectiveness and resident response when they engage in the budgeting process this Spring for the new fiscal year. At that time, the council will decide on whether to continue funding the new format and distribution method for 12 issues to be produced in fiscal year 2021 at an estimated cost of $1,360 per issue for printing, and $2,200 per issue for postage.
“We are qualifying for bulk mail rates at a little more than 16 cents per residential address,” Sabel said. “That allows us to reach more residents at the lowest possible cost,” he said.
The first issue of the new GP Now is expected to hit mail boxes and local businesses Tuesday, Nov. 26. The January issue will publish during the week between Christmas and New Years Day, Sabel said.
“There is so much happening every day at City Hall, the pages are already filling up for the next edition of GP Now,” said Sabel.