How much per page would you pay for copies of a public record?

A York County agency recently tried to charge us 50 cents per page to make copies of a public document.

The state’s open records office set the fee for copies at up to 25 cents for state agencies, although the law allows some other agencies to set their own fees. But that fee has to be reasonable and in line with typical costs in your area (it’s in the law, linked to here).

I found an online pricing sheet for Staples that lists standard black and white copies at 10 cents each. So to pay 50 cents a copy would be like paying $125 for a state inspection or $103.50 for a hunting license.

Not gonna happen.

If you’re faced with such a ridiculous price for copies, you can definitely invoke the “reasonable fee” part of the law, and note that it should be in line with what it costs to make a copy at a local business. (Of course, the OOR’s 25 cents per copy seems awfully high in that regard, but that’s yet another story).

Meanwhile, if you wanted to appeal the cost for copies, here’s a case that addresses that. And remember, agencies cannot charge you for staff time it takes to look up records.


About Scott Blanchard

Sunday editor at the York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.
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One Response to How much per page would you pay for copies of a public record?

  1. Emily says:

    Even 25 cents per copy is outrageous. Paper and toner just do not cost that much. Staples charges 10 cents per copy, and that figure is still enough for them to make a profit. That’s fine. They’re a private business. But the government shouldn’t be making a profit by providing information that is generated with tax dollars.

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