Data Charges for Public Access to Public Data
The following policy governs charges associated with providing information to the public. This policy applies to requests for copies of public data. In accordance with statute, nothing in this policy authorizes collection of a fee for inspection of public data, where no copies are requested. These policies are based upon the interest of the public in receiving timely and appropriate access to public data, cost to the City of providing copies of public data and the cost of financial transactions to the City.
The City Data Compliance Official will retain the evidence relied upon in setting these guidelines on file for public review. The Data Compliance Official shall periodically review the guidelines to determine if adjustments are appropriate and may set new guidelines or make such adjustments to the existing in his/her discretion.
Regulations Governing Data Charges
The following governs what the city may charge:
Guiding Principles of Data Charges
In determining the fees to be charged in a given instance, the City will be guided by the following principles:
All reasonable effort must be made to determine the actual costs of searching for, retrieving, copying and, where applicable, certifying the data. The City should not charge any fee that is more than the demonstrated cost of allowable expenses.
Work done by City staff to comply with a request for copies should be done at the lowest level of the organization consistent with legal requirements, staffing considerations and good service to the public.
City staff will utilize the Document Solution Center for efficient and cost effective copying of documents.
|Flat Rate||$0.25 per page ($0.30 for color copies).|
Requests of 100 or fewer pages will be charged using this rate.
|Special Rate||$30.00 per hour* plus per-page fee for copying = $0.10 ($0.15 for color copies).|
Requests of more than 100 pages may be charged using the Special Rate, pro-rated in ¼ hour increments. In circumstances, where business necessity of the department requires that a higher-grade employee fill the request for data, the special rate can be upwardly adjusted. *Hourly rates are calculated using the salaries of job titles typically involved in information requests.
|Data Subject Rate||$0.10 per page ($0.15 for color copies).|
Requests made by the subject of the data will be charged using this rate and will not include staff time regardless of the number of pages provided or the amount of staff time utilized.
|Certifications||$10.00 each in addition to the copying or other associated charges|
|Computer disks||$10.00 per (CD/DVD) of data|
|Audiotapes||$15.00 per dubbed tape|
|Videotapes||$20.00 per dubbed VHS tape|
Costs may include staff time and other fees associated with responding to the request
The mailing fee will reflect the actual cost of mailing, including postage, envelopes and labels. There is no fee for e-mail transmittal of data, except that the flat rate or the special rate may be charged for requests that involve staff time for response.
|Reformatted Data||If the City has the data that is asked for but does not keep the data in the form the requestor wants, the City may not be able to give the data in that form. If the City can put the data in the form requested, they will let the requestor know how long it will take to provide the data and how much it will cost. Costs may include staff time and other fees associated with responding to the request. The requestor can then decide if the City should provide the data in that form or not|
|Additional department specific rates||Departments may develop a list of standard products available to the public and copying fees for each. The list and fees will be submitted to the Data Compliance Official for approval and will be maintained on file.|
Data charges MAY include:
- Staff time required to:
- Retrieve documents (The requirement that data be kept in a manner that makes them easily accessible for convenient use may limit the entity in charging for search and retrieval time)
- Sort and label documents, if necessary to identify the data to be copied
- Remove staples, paper clips
- Take documents to copier for copying
- Copy documents
- Materials (paper, copier ink, staples, diskettes, magnetic tapes, video or audiocassettes, etc.)
- Special costs associated with making copies from computerized data, such as writing or modifying a computer program to format data (keeping in mind that computerized data must be easily accessible for convenient use)
- Mailing costs
- Vehicle costs directly involved in transporting data to the appropriate facility when necessary to provide copies (for example, when the government entity is unable to provide copying services for photographs, oversize documents, videos, etc.)
When the subject of the data makes a request for access to data, the data subject may not be charged for the cost of searching for and retrieving the data. A data subject can only be charged for the actual cost of copying, certifying and mailing the data.
Data charges MAY NOT include:
- Staff time required to:
- Separate public from not public data
- Open a data request that was mailed
- Sort, label or review data, if not necessary to identify the data to be copied
- Return documents to storage
- Provide information about the data to the requester (i.e., explain content and meaning of data)
- Purchase of copier
- Maintenance of copier
- Administrative costs that are not related to copying
- Records storage
- Sales tax
- Normal operating expenses of computer
- The entire cost of operating a multi-tasked computer for a measured unit of time, when fulfilling a request for copies was only one of the tasks performed during that unit of time.
Approved by Council Nov. 9, 2000, Revised Jan. 25, 2012
Last updated Jul 11, 2017