Can I be charged for the FOAA Request?

There is no initial fee for submitting a FOAA request and the City cannot charge an individual to inspect records unless the public record cannot be inspected without being compiled or converted. However, the City can and normally does charge for copying records. Although the FOAA does not set standard copying rates, it permits agencies to charge "a reasonable fee to cover the cost of copying".

The City may charge fees for the time spent searching for, retrieving, compiling or redacting confidential information from the requested records. The FOAA authorizes agencies or officials to charge $15 per hour after the first hour of staff time per request. Where conversion of a record is necessary, the agency or official may also charge a fee to cover the actual cost of conversion.

The City must prepare an estimate of the time and cost required to complete a request within a reasonable amount of time of receipt of the request. If the time to prepare is estimated to be greater than 1 hour, the City must notify the requester before proceeding. The City may request payment in advance if the estimated time to complete is estimated to exceed two hours or if the requester has previously failed to pay a fee properly assessed under the FOAA.

Show All Answers

1. What is the Maine Freedom of Access Act?
2. What is a public record?
3. What is a FOAA request?
4. Does the FOAA request have to be in writing?
5. What should my FOAA request say or include?
6. Who should I send my FOAA request to within the City?
7. Does the City have to acknowledge receipt of my request?
8. Is the City authorized to ask me for clarification concerning my request?
9. Does an City have to estimate how long it will take to respond to my request?
10. In what form can I expect the records to be in response to my FOAA request?
11. Can I be charged for the FOAA Request?
12. Is the City subject to penalties for failure to comply with the Freedom of Access Act?