City of Douglas revises public documents fee schedule

DOUGLAS — The Douglas City Council has revised a 2015 resolution charging residents for public documents to provide many of them for little or no cost. 

The new resolution, number 2099 approved on Sept. 27, set a new fee schedule for copies – both printed and electronic versions – of public records which offer a “credit” for the first $180 or $100 of the request, respectively. 

The passage of this resolution replaces former resolution 1882, the city’s previous attempt at determining what to charge the public for copies of documents and records. 

That resolution, while approved in 2015, wasn’t used by the city administration until earlier this year when the Budget and other members of the public asked for certain documents and were hit with fees that included $25 minimum charges and a $1 per page or more plus costs for employee time. 

According to the new fee schedule, people will be charged for electronic records based on an actual cost basis, including the time it takes staff to put the request together (based on the employee’s hourly wage); charges will be incurred only when the fees exceed up to $100 (for example, if the fee is $200, the first $100 will be credited by the city and an individual would only be charged the balance). 

However, multiple public records requests cannot be made to avoid paying the costs of the electronic request over $100, the resolution states. 

City staff will be expected to provide the individual who is making the request with an estimate of costs which must be paid in advance, according to the resolution. If the estimate is above actual costs, the city will issue a refund. 

The requestor has 20 business days from the date the documents are ready to visit City Hall and inspect the electronic records. 

Copies of the electronic records will incur actual charges (scanning, 10 cents/page, electronic media such as a disk or thumb drive are charged at actual costs). For hard copies of documents, the fees are as follows: 8.5x11-inch page, 10 cents/page for black and white, 60 cents/ page in color; legal size copies are 25 cents/page for black and white, $1/page for color. 

Larger pages, photographs, a custodian’s fee to supervise the copying, any outside vendor copying, postage and the materials used for mailing, and faxing documents will be charged at actual costs. 

All public records requests still must be made in writing, according to the new resolution.