Selma should follow example set by Valley Grande

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

During its regular meeting Monday night, the Valley Grande City Council did a reasonable and responsible thing.

They adopted an ordinance making public records available for inspection and copying.

And, they set a price for those copies. The city will charge 25 cents per page after 10 free copies – a very low and competitive fee, said Valley Grande Mayor Tom Lee.

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We agree.

For several months, the Selma City Council has been unable to address the same issue.

Late last year, the council approved a measure to decrease the cost of copies, which up until that time had been $1.25 per copy for the first 25 copies, $1.75 per copy after that – an outrageous amount considering that, according to state public records law, government agencies should make copies at a price that covers costs only – not to make a profit.

We congratulated the Selma council at that time for decreasing the price to a more reasonable 25 cents per copy.

However, in January, they came back and re-established the earlier costs.

At the Feb. 13 city council meeting, the issue was on the agenda, but the council didn’t get to it.

At the Feb. 27 meeting, they discussed the issue, but declined to make a decision on it.

As of this writing, the cost remains at the $1.25 per copy fee.

City officials should re-examine the cost of copies and evaluate whether this is a fair amount to ask the citizens of Selma to pay for copies of records that are by definition “public.” In this instance, the city should look to the example set by Valley Grande and decide to do the right thing by decreasing cost of copies.