Tab for info: $150

HUMBOLDT – The Humboldt City Council responded to an open records request Monday.

City Administrator Aaron Burnett said Jason Klocke had submitted a request for information on a decision the council made last August in hiring a contractor for work in the new Eagle Ridge addition.

Burnett said fulfilling the request involved nearly 1,000 emails.

Burnett and City Attorney Eric Eide decided to charge Klocke $150 for the information.

According to Burnett, Klocke felt he shouldn’t have to pay and turned the matter over to the state ombudsman’s office. The ombudsman said the fee was reasonable but the city should have been more upfront about the cost and he suggested a $75 compromise on the fee.

“My biggest concern with how we address the request is the precedence it sets for future requests,” Burnett said.

In the two and a half years Burnett has been city administrator the city had never charged for documents – but the city has never had a request like this before, he said.

“That’s the ombudsman’s job to look a things like this and if they come up with arbitration that seems reasonable,” said Councilman Joe Hadar. “We are not talking about anything that is going to break the city’s budget one way or another.”

Mayor Walter Jensen said city workers put in a lot of time replying to the request and the $75 fee was not fair.

The council agreed to stick with the $150 fee.