Alabaster updates public records fees, availability

Published 10:07 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Those seeking certain Alabaster public records will notice a few changes after the City Council approved a new fee schedule for copying certain documents during its Jan. 20 meeting.

During the meeting, the council voted unanimously to instate a $25 per-hour fee for copying certain labor-intensive public records, such as documents more than two or three years old, high-volume documents and records which would require removal of confidential or personal information before they could be copied.

The $25 per-hour fee will be charged for each city employee who works to copy the records.

“Any member of the public is free to come in and look at any public record for free,” said Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow. “This resolution just outlines under what circumstances we provide records, when we charge and how much we charge.”

Obtaining copies of standard public records is still $1 per page, Brumlow said.

The resolution also brought the city in line with a state law passed in 2010 which deals with the availability of 911 call transcripts.

Through the resolution, the city will be allowed to provide copies of 911 call transcripts only to the person involved in the call, their authorized relative or executive estate.

Law enforcement officers may also obtain copies of call transcripts by using an affidavit or warrant, Brumlow said.

“Those are the only circumstances when someone can get a copy of a 911 call,” Brumlow said.