Viewing public records free; copies will cost
New Loudon County mayor takes aim at nuisance requests
By BOB FOWLER, email@example.com
September 12, 2006
LOUDON - As one of his first acts in office, new Loudon County Mayor
Doyle Arp has set strict guidelines and imposed hefty fees for obtaining
public records from his office. Those requesting information must fill
out a form and pay a minimum, upfront, nonrefundable fee of $25, plus 25
cents a page for any copies of county documents.
Any requests taking longer than an hour for Arp's staff to research
would result in an additional $25 an hour fee.
Arp says the policy is in response to repeated requests for
information from what he calls the "Triple A Club - Always Against
He said there's a small group of county residents - many dissatisfied
with the latest election results - that has repeatedly been making
requests for county records.
"They had been walking into different county offices and demanding to
see records,'' he said.
"They're just being nosy,'' Arp said.
"Why should they care to come to my office and make a formal
"It's something we want to know; what they want, and they have to put
it in writing. We'll get it (the requested information) to them in a
reasonable length of time.
"We've got a county to run,'' Arp said. "We aren't running a
Arp said previous requests for information from members of the small
group have kept county employees from doing their jobs.
"We don't have the time to do this,'' Arp said. "If the (county)
commission says they want that done, they can bring somebody in here to
Tennessee courts and the attorney general have found public officials
can charge fees for copying public records, providing those fees
reasonably reflect the actual costs for making the copies.
Local governments can't charge fees for allowing inspection of a
public record, according to CTAS' County Records Manual.
Local governments also can't charge for the time employees spend
helping citizens inspect public records, according to that manual.
Charges can be assessed in those cases only if copies are made, the