Is it too much to ask that residents of a city have access to basic financial documents without, for crying out loud, having to file a lawsuit?
John Harless wanted some financial documents from Rivesville, West Virginia, so he filed a few FOIAs. He got copies of the town’s check registry…but the names of the people the checks were made out to were blacked out.
Circuit Judge David Janes ruled against the city. He also ruled that they couldn’t charge more than 25 cents per page.
Why did he have to do that? Because the city recently passed an ordinance where they decided they would charge 75 cents per page.
However, Judge Janes said in his ruling:
“I think that today, 25 cents is a reasonable fee.”
City officials said they doubt this ruling will keep Mr. Harless from filing FOIAs. I don’t think it will deter him, either. Quite possibly, he has come to believe through this process that the city needs more, not less, sunshine, on an ongoing basis.