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Ripon bans outside flyers in city bills
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One way of conveying a message for an upcoming event or fundraiser is via mailing inserts.

How effective of a means is a different story.

Cost may vary. According to the City of Ripon staff, inserting a flyer inside a utility bill can cost $935 for about 4,000 inserts using a third party vendor.

The same about of inserts using the US Postal Services’ Every Door Direct Mail program would be about $735.

The significance of those figures is part of the policy adopted Tuesday by the Ripon City Council. By that, no inserts from outside organizations will be allowed in monthly utility bills or annual dog license renewal notices.

Elected leader voted 5-0 on the new policy but with one caveat – grandfathering a one-time only request by Friends of the Ripon Dog Park.

 According to Jaime Fountain – she and Shelly Moulyn have been behind the efforts of converting the city-donated 1.23 acres on Doak Boulevard, adjacent to the animal shelter, into a public dog park – Friends of the Ripon Dog Park recently had flyers inserted into the annual dog license renewal notices promoting the fundraising efforts.

“We’re trying to fund a public park (for Ripon),” Fountain said. “We didn’t think it would prompt the City to put a policy in place.”

Councilman Leo Zuber pointed out that the third party inserts are conducted in Arizona, in which case, the Friends of the Ripon Dog Park were “stuck in the middle,” he said, in turn, apologizing to the non-profit group.

Ripon was in need of establishing a policy on this matter rather than dealing with the various non-profit and special interest groups in town on a case-by-case basis, which staff determined was “not an acceptable approach because the process (would need) a basic set of standards to be successful.”

Most recently, the flyers promoting the farmers’ market and Fourth of July celebration – both are now under the operation of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce – were placed in the monthly utility bills.

Zuber believes many of these flyers usually go unnoticed.

“I think about 50 percent of the people are unaware about the flyer in their mail – they’re the ones who usually pay their bill in advance,” he said.

The Friends of the Ripon Dog Park had already been promised for one more go-around on the flyer insert when dog license renewal notices are again sent out.


To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail