The Gist: City officials in Roswell are proposing a change to its public records policy. A draft resolution proposes that public records will only be sent to entities or individuals who provide verifiable names and addresses.
The resolution will be discussed at a City Council work session March 14.
The Issue: According to the resolution, Roswell is spending an extraordinary amount of staff time and resources responding to open records requests for entities that do not legally exist or provide false addresses. This can infringe on the city’s ability to collect charges if necessary under State Law.
The Proposed Solution: The change proposes that public records will only be mailed, emailed, or delivered electronically to entities or individuals who provide verifiable names and addresses.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous or use aliases may come into City Hall to inspect and copy public documents and pay for such records and associated search, retrieval, redaction, and production or copying costs as provided by law.
Why It Matters: Providing public access to public records is crucial for transparency and accountability in government. However, it is also important to protect the public’s tax dollars by ensuring that charges for producing public records are collected.
The Law: Georgia’s open records law, also known as the Georgia Open Records Act, provides that all state and local government records are open to the public, except for those specifically exempted by law.
The law also allows for charges to be collected for producing copies or cost of producing the media on which the records or data are produced plus a reasonable charge for the search, retrieval, redaction, and production or copying cost provided, however, that there is no cost for the first quarter hour. Charges may be collected in any manner authorized by law for the collection of taxes, fees, or assessments.