Kremmling quickly fixes illegal records fee after its passage
Kremmling has updated the town’s fees for records request after the town board inadvertently passed an illegal fee on Jan. 20.
During the regular town board meeting, trustees passed a fee schedule for the new year that included a $40 per hour charge for search and retrieval of open records request along with a 25 cent charge per page for document copies.
According to state statute, search and retrieval fees cannot exceed $33.58 per hour and the first hour must be free.
“I don’t know where they’re getting the $40 an hour,” said Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. “That’s not what the statute says.”
When the Sky-Hi News shared the discrepancy with Kremmling Town Manager Dan Stoltman, he said he would immediately update the policy in line with state standards.
“I didn’t really think about it … it was a last minute look at different things we do that we didn’t have fees for,” Stoltman explained. “Since it’s a legal requirement, I’ll make that adjustment and inform the board.”
He said the new fee for records request will be $30 per hour after the first hour free and 25 cents per page for paper copies. Kremmling did not previously have an approved policy for charging for records requests.
Roberts added that he’d like to see more clarity in the open records statute in the future since there are few mechanisms to ensure fees aren’t used to keep information from the public.
“(Current open records fees) are more than the average paralegal makes in Colorado and the issue is then that if government entities say it’s going to be 10 or 20 hours to process the request, it gets really pricey,” Roberts said. “And there’s also not a really great way of knowing they really need the hours to fulfill the request.”
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