The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records this week denied Pennsbury School Board member Simon Campbell's appeal regarding a $1,074.15 invoice for 11,935 property assessment records for Tullytown Borough and Falls Township.
Those records were provided to Campbell on June 26 by the County Board of Assessment.
According to a press release from the county:
On July 11, 2013, Mr. Campbell filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, challenging the fee. He argued that the county is prohibited from charging fees in excess of $100 without obtaining his approval, requiring him to prepay any fees, or describing the method of calculating the county's fee.
Subsequently, on July 22, 2013, the county submitted a position statement and supporting affidavit. The county argued that Campbell was charged a fee of 9 cents per parcel for property assessment records, and that the fee charged is authorized in accordance with prior final determinations issued by the Office of Open Records that have held that an agency can charge the "reasonable market value" for complex and extensive data sets. The county said Campbell was aware of the 9-cent-per-parcel fee.
In its decision, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records said Campbell "is not being denied records, he is being provided records. Moreover, the agency (Bucks County Open Records Office) has properly applied the fee structure established in the (Right to Know) law. The County is not attempting to charge a fee on appeal that it did not charge in its initial response, as (Campbell) erroneously suggests."
The final determination in this matter can be found on the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records website at: http://openrecords.state.pa.us.