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City Council Refuses To Implement New Public Record Fees

The City Council today refused to implement proposed fees for transmitting certain types of computerized documents to residents and media and for extracting computer data involving complicated public records requests.

The proposed fees, part of a package of 168 fee changes for the fiscal year beginning July 1, called for files in the .pdf format to cost 25 cents per page and requests requiring expert help to be 70 cents per page.

Several council members said the new fees would have a "chilling'' effect on civic watchdogs and the media.

"I don't want members of the public to be discouraged, I want them to be encouraged to request information,'' Councilman Kevin Faulconer said.

Councilman Todd Gloria said the revenue gained by the city would have been offset by a loss of public trust.

Revenue from the rejected fees would have been insignificant, said Mark Leonard, the city's finance director.

Fees for paper copies will be standardized at 25 cents per page. City departments had charged various fees, but no more than a quarter per page -- with some charging less.

Of the 168 fee changes, around 100 were increased and the rest were lowered or eliminated.

The council passed the full package of changes, minus the rejected fees, on a 7-1 vote. Councilman Carl DeMaio, who also opposed the rejected fees, cast the dissenting vote, saying he disagreed with some other increases.

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