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August 08, 2013
GROSSE POINTE SHORES — City representatives in July established a fee schedule for carrying out requests for public documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Copying charges can always be passed through to the requesting party,” said Brian Renaud, attorney for Grosse Pointe Shores.

Shores councilmembers at their Tuesday, July 16, meeting set a fee of 25 cents per page to duplicate documents requested under the act.

The policy pertains to public access to public documents.

Persons requesting documents permitted for release in accord with the act must do so in writing.

Requests should be as specific as possible.

They must “identify the public record sufficiently to allow the village to find the requested record,” according to the policy.

The city also can charge for time spent locating, compiling and providing requested information.

“The fee has to be based on the least hourly rate paid person who is capable of conducting the search,” Renaud said.

The council adopted a $50 threshold to charge for labor costs.

“In cases where a fee is expected to exceed $50 for copies, the village may require the requester make a good faith deposit at the time the request for information is made,” the policy reads. “The deposit may not exceed one half of the expected total fee.”

If labor costs are less than $50, the city can still charge, but doesn’t have to.

Fees are capped at $20 for someone submitting an affidavit of being indigent or receiving public assistance.

Duplication fees extend beyond paper documents.

“The city must charge the actual cost” of reproducing video tapes, audio tapes, compact discs, thumb drives, DVDs and oversized documents, according to the policy.

Terms encompass fees that third-party vendors charge to make copies on behalf of the city, such as for oversized diagrams and architectural renderings.

“Actual costs of mailing and postage fees can be charged,” Renaud said.

Councilmembers appointed City Manager Mark Wollenweber FOIA officer. He’ll delegate requests for information to the appropriate department representative.

“The coordinator may reduce or waive fees if the coordinator determines that a waiver or reduction of fees is in the public interest because searching for or furnishing copies of the public record can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public,” according to the policy.

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