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Council deletes handling request fee

If you request public records from the city of Minden you still may have to pay for copies or even for a disc if you so choose; however, you won’t have to pay a “request handling fee.”

The fee was eliminated from a proposed policy submitted to the City Council Monday after the Minden Press-Herald and KTBS-3 raised questions about the legality of the move. City attorney Charles Minifield told both media outlets separately prior to the meeting he was not consulted about the fees before the policy was written, but steps had been taken to have them deleted.

The “Public Records Request Policy, Procedure and Fees” document was part of a resolution provided to council members with recommended administrative policies and procedures. The public records request portion included a $20 “request handling fee” and “$10/report” for computer generated reports.

State law allows public bodies to “collect reasonable fees” for making copies of public records. They can even be furnished at a reduced rate or without charge to indigent citizens.

Copies are to be provided according to a fee schedule adopted by the commission of administration. However, no fee can be charged if a person just wants to look at a public record.

State law does not authorize a “handling fee” or extra fee for computer generated reports.

Councilwoman Fayrine Kennon-Gilbert offered the motion to exclude the fees from the policy. Benny Gray seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.