Their point? Agencies providing public records for inspection should charge only for the actual cost of copying those records. Therefore, records provided electronically should not cost as much as hard copies.
“When a requester brings his own scanning equipment,” the release adds, “the agency pays nothing and so should charge nothing for the copies.”
FOG’s position on this subject carries particular weight in SFR’s pending request for the 2009-10 budget for Santa Fe Public Schools.
The request was provided last month as an electronic database on a laptop. When SFR attempted to photograph the more than 1,000 pages of budget records, SFPS tried to charge a fee for each photo. SFR subsequently contacted both FOG and the AG’s office seeking reinforcement, which came this week.
“They can’t do that,” FOG Executive Director Sarah Welsh tells SFR.
That’s reinforcing enough for us.