FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

T. C. Graboski,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-98

 

First Selectman, Tax Collector and Assessor of the Town of Simsbury,

 

Respondents July 8, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 14, 1987, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By two letters dated March 18, 1987 the complainant made requests of the respondents for copies of the lists of all exempt property within Simsbury and of all delinquent taxes owed to the Town of Simsbury. In both requests the complainant asked that copying fees be waived as provided by 1-15, G.S. for requests which benefit the general welfare.

 

3. By letter dated March 23, 1987 the respondent first selectman informed the complainant that the requested copies had been prepared and that "[a]s soon as we receive payment of $12.00, we will turn the copies over to you."

 

4. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on April 7, 1987 the complainant alleged that when calculated separately, the fees for each of his requests amounted to less than $10.00, that the respondents could not, therefore, require prepayment of such fees and that all fees should have been waived, pursuant to 1-15, G.S.

 

5. Pursuant to 1-15, G.S., where copying fees are estimated to be greater than $10.00 a public agency may delay preparation of the requested copies until payment has been received.

 

Docket #FIC 87-98 Page Two

 

6. It is found that as of the date of the respondents' demand for payment all of the requested copies had been prepared.

 

7. It is concluded that the respondents' March 23, 1987 letter was a demand for payment prior to releasing the copies, not a demand for prepayment within the meaning of 1-15, G.S.

 

8. It is also found that 1-15, G.S. provides that when a public agency has made a judgment that compliance with a request for records benefits the general welfare, it shall waive copying fees.

 

9. It is found that the respondents did not make a judgment that compliance with the complainant's request benefitted the general welfare and that, therefore, their failure to waive copying fees did not violate 1-15, G.S.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 8, 1987.

 

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission