Is an RAO required to provide a fee estimate?

The Public Records Regulations require that an RAO provide a detailed, written, good faith estimate for the cost of complying with a public record request.

The fee estimate must contain a statement advising the requester that the actual cost of producing the record might vary once the agency or municipality begins preparing the record. An agency or municipality is permitted to require payment of the estimated fee before commencing work.

All agencies and municipalities are strongly urged to waive the fees associated with access to public records, but are not required to do so under the law.

Public records that are of great interest to a large number of people must be readily available within the office of the RAO and should be provided at a minimum cost, if any. Examples include minutes of board meetings, town meeting documents, warrants, street lists and municipal financial documents. Many of these records are required to be placed on the RAO’s website.

Show All Answers

1. What is the difference between the federal Freedom of Information Act and the Massachusetts Public Records Law?
2. Who can help me with questions regarding the Public Records Law?
3. What is a “public record”?
4. How do I find the records I seek?
5. Does the Division of Public Records have my records?
6. Does the Public Records Law apply to court, legislative or federal records?
7. What is a Records Access Officer?
8. What is a records custodian?
9. How do I obtain copies of public records?
10. What do I do if my request is denied?
11. May I also go to court to seek public records?
12. My appeal was closed because I did not provide the necessary information. What do I do now?
13. What are the requirements for an RAO response to a public records request?
14. Does my request need to be in writing, and do I need to use a specific form?
15. May I appeal a failure to answer a question?
16. What is the cost for copies of public records; what about electronic records?
17. Is an RAO required to provide a fee estimate?
18. May the RAO charge a fee for search and segregation of records?
19. When must minutes of an open meeting be made available to the public?
20. Does a requester have greater right of access to records if he is the subject of a record?
21. Is a requester required to disclose the intended use of the public record requested?
22. How should an RAO respond to an unclear request?
23. What if a records custodian claims that it is not subject to the Public Records Law?
24. Are RAOs required to forward a request for records not in their possession?