April 9, 1997

In re: Jeannie Burchett/City of Olive Hill

Open Records Appeal

This is an appeal from the City of Olive Hill's response to Jeannie Burchett's request for the names of people opposing a mobile home park on Schoolhouse Hill. On March 11, 1997, city clerk Don W. Everman Jr. notified Ms. Burchett that the petition containing the names would be sent to her upon payment of $1.00 copying charges. For the following reasons, we conclude that the city complied, in all material respects, with the Open Records Act in responding to Ms. Burchett's request, but we question the reasonableness of the proposed copying charges.

The City of Olive Hill responded in writing to Ms. Burchett's request, apparently in a timely fashion, [1] and agreed to provide her with a copy of the petition containing the names of people opposing the mobile home park upon prepayment of copying charges. This response was consistent with KRS 61.872(3)(b), authorizing the official custodian to mail copies “upon receipt of all fees and the cost of mailing,” KRS 61.874, authorizing the official custodian to “require a written request and advanced payment of a prescribed fee, including postage where appropriate,” and KRS 61.880(1), requiring the official custodian to respond in writing, and within three business days, to an open records request. The Open Records Act does not require more.

In closing, we note that the city assessed a $1.00 copying charge for the petition. The city did not indicate the number of pages the petition contains. KRS 61.874(3) states that an agency may prescribe a reasonable fee for making copies of public records, but

that fee must not exceed its actual cost, not including staff time. The courts have determined that ten cents per page is a reasonable copying charge for purposes of open records requests. Friend v Rees, Ky. App., 696 S.W.2d 325 (1985). Unless the petition consists of ten pages, or unless the city can substantiate that the $1.00 charge reflects its actual cost, it should recalculate its copying charge to conform to KRS 61.874(3).

A party aggrieved by this decision may appeal it by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882. Pursuant to KRS 61.880(3), the Attorney General should be notified of any action in circuit court, but should not be named as a party in that action or in any subsequent proceeding.

A. B. Chandler III

Attorney General

Amye L. Bensenhaver

Assistant Attorney General


Distributed to:

Jeannie Burchett

Route 4, Box 1355

Olive Hill KY 41164

Don Everman

City Clerk

City of Olive Hill

P. O. Box 460

Olive Hill KY 41164

Jim Short, Mayor

City of Olive Hill

P. O. Box 460

Olive Hill KY 41164


[1] Our copy of Ms. Burchett's request does not indicate the date it was mailed.