Routt County could modify open records policy to include charge for research beyond 15 minutes

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— Routt County government records are open to the public at the Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave. However, beginning Oct. 15, citizens with time-intensive records requests could be charged for the staff time involved in meeting those requests.

The Board of County Commissioners is expected to consider a plan Tuesday to charge labor costs for document copying that requires more than 15 minutes of staff time. The cost would be $25 per hour.

The county does not accept credit or debit cards, and people making records requests would be required to post a deposit of $25 in advance when the county determines a request would result in more than 15 minutes of work.

The Colorado Open Records Act allows records custodians to charge as many as 25 cents per page for photocopies of public records. However, the law also states:

"If, in response to a specific request, the state or any of its agencies, institutions, or political subdivisions has performed a manipulation of data so as to generate a record in a form not used by the state or by said agency, institution, or political subdivision, a reasonable fee may be charged to the person making the request. Such fee shall not exceed the actual cost of manipulating the said data and generating the said record in accordance with the request. Persons making subsequent requests for the same or similar records may be charged a fee not in excess of the original fee." (C.R.S. 24-72-205)

Today's commissioners hearing on the proposal is at 10 a.m. on the third floor of the historic downtown courthouse.

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