The Cost of Sunshine: 2018 Audit

WUFT News | April 16, 2018
By Andrew Briz, Ethan Bauer, Caitlin Ostroff,
Alexa Lorenzo, Gabrielle Calise and Ryan Serpico

Would you want to know if your local school has a mold problem? Or if your new neighbor from the other side of Florida has a criminal record? Or if your city’s police department is following protocol during traffic stops?

In Florida, you can answer all those questions thanks to chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, officially known as the Florida Public Records Act, which allows anyone to inspect any documents produced by any government office in the state at a reasonable cost. But the law in practice isn’t as simple as it sounds.

WUFT News reported on this issue last year in Sunshine Lost, an investigation into compliance with the state’s public records law in all 20 Florida district state attorney’s offices. Among the findings were a lack of proper record keeping, inconsistent pricing and missing points of contact for people trying to make requests. With help from Florida’s First Amendment Foundation, the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Knight Foundation, WUFT News expanded that reporting this year to include constitutional offices — tax collectors, sheriff’s offices, etc. — in nine counties across Florida, plus six state agencies.

We’ve got this great law, but no means to enforce it other than through the courts.

While Florida is revered for its open public records laws, the state does not have an effective enforcement mechanism. If your public records request about your daughter’s moldy school isn’t being addressed quickly, there’s nobody to complain to. The agencies are in charge of policing themselves.

Your only option would be to sue the agency.

“We’re really stuck,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation. “We’ve got this great law, but no means to enforce it other than through the courts.”

This isn’t just on a case-by-case basis either. Aside from having no official appeals process, the state also doesn’t exercise any oversight of its agencies. That means no one is keeping track of what agencies are charging for completing requests.

WUFT’s goal with this project was to perform that task in place of the state – to audit a sampling of agencies to see how Florida’s public records laws perform when left in the dark.

“The purpose is to get a snapshot of what’s going on around the state,” Petersen said. “We can then provide it for our lawmakers in the hopes that they will see the problems.” In the hopes, Petersen added, that new legislation will result.

Methodology

WUFT News chose nine counties and six state agencies for the audit based on geographic and population diversity. Requests were sent to all county constitutional officers in nine Florida counties as well as the city clerk for the county seat. County constitutional officers include the state attorney; sheriff; clerk of court; tax collector; property appraiser; supervisor of elections; public defender; and school superintendent. Six state agencies — the Executive Office of the Governor, the Attorney General, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Financial Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Veterans Affairs — also received the same public record requests.

The goal was to determine the number of requests received by each entity, the cost quoted to fulfill each request and the actual amount paid for the records. We also asked for copies of each agency’s public records access policy. The constitutional agencies that weren’t audited received a survey designed to obtain the same information. The survey asked for records from a two-year range (January 2015 through December 2016) while the audit requested records from one year (January 2016 through December 2016).

The voluntary survey sent to constitutional agencies not audited.

We used an email template when making our requests to ensure consistency. We sent the requests to the email addresses listed for the public records custodians on each agency’s website. If the custodian’s contact information was not available, or if a web portal was offered as an alternative, then we called the office to request the appropriate email address. The agencies usually acknowledged our requests within an hour. Responses varied following the acknowledgement. Sometimes an office asked for clarification, other times it sent the requested records.

The records we received were packaged in many ways. Some were sent in a neat Microsoft Excel file, while others formed paper skyscrapers in a cardboard bin. Some came in a format that required specialized software be purchased and installed before the records could be examined. There were times when agencies were contacted because of apparent data errors. Once we cleared those hurdles, the team logged the appropriate information in a collaborative spreadsheet. The team calculated its findings using that data.

Findings

90%

The amount of records processed by an agency without a fee payed

paper-money

$102

The average fee paid, of those with one, for a public records request

money

Public record requests are made almost daily to Florida’s 600-plus constitutional agencies. While the exact number is unknown, our audit found the median agency received 27 requests in 2016. However, the amount ranged from 5,693 requests for one agency (The Charlotte County Sheriff) to zero for others.

(Figure 1) Not all types of agencies received the same volume of requests.

About 33 percent of respondents overall said their agency received between one and 50 requests in the two-year period of 2015 and 2016. Another 33 percent said they received over 250. As you can see in Figure 1, regardless of county, most of the requests were made to the sheriff’s office and state attorneys, which was consistent with the audit.

The main finding of the audit showed a vast majority of the public records requests processed by the agencies we audited were done so for free – 90 percent of them. Of the 10 percent that did have an associated cost, the average fee was $102 across all the agencies. Rooted in this average is a wide range of values that are corroborated by the results of the voluntary survey. Figure 2 shows the breakdown of average fee ranges for both sets of data, and also highlights an interesting contrast: our audit found a much higher rate of free records (18 percent vs 5 percent in the survey) while also finding a much lower rate of fees under $10 (3 percent vs 52 percent in the survey).

(Figure 2) The audit found many more agencies processing requests for free than agencies said on the survey.

There are a few explanations for this discrepancy, the most likely of which is a misunderstanding of what constitutes a public record on the part of the survey respondents. For example voter rolls (which was by far the most requested record from a Supervisor of Elections office) were often given out in high volumes for free. Some respondents might think a request like that does not constitute enough effort to be deemed a “public records request,” but our audit did.

Lack of Record Keeping

Another key finding illustrates a lack of comprehensive record keeping across agencies. Figure 1 shows that 22 percent of survey respondents — those who voluntarily took our survey — did not or could not provide an estimate of the amount of public records requests their agency acquired in the two year period of 2015 – 2016. Further, Figure 2 shows about a third of agencies (whether they were audited or took the survey) could not provide data on the amount of money their agency collected in fees in the past year.

Deputy Tax Collector for Collier County Rob Stoneburner said the agency did not keep records of the cost charged for each request. When pressed, he said he doesn’t see why it’s necessary to collect that information. “I don’t know what the point really is as far as to see the $1 to $3.80 for public records that we would report,” he said.

Inconsistent Pricing

The audit also found evidence of organizations engaging in a practice of charging for a high percentage of fees, while maintaining a low average cost for those records.

For example, when analyzing the seven Supervisor of Elections offices whose data were available, one county stood out: the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office collected more money than any of the other six counties – adjusting for the population of their counties (Figure 3).

(Figure 3 & 4) Despite most records only costing $5 – $10, Alachua County collected significantly more money in fees than other counties (adjusting for population). Some counties didn’t collect any money in 2016.
(Figure 5 & 6) Even though Alachua County didn’t receive the most requests, they charged for a much higher percentage of them.

The agency did not have a particularly high volume of requests (Figure 5), nor requests with large associated fees (Figure 4). It did, however, charge for 75 percent of all the requests made to the office in 2016 – double the rate of other counties’ Supervisor of Elections (Figure 6).

Alachua County Deputy Supervisor of Elections Will Boyett said a major source of this revenue was from charging small fees for the same kinds of records other counties gave out for free. Boyett said the office began to review the policies for these small fees in 2017 in an effort to bring the county more in line with other agencies. “As an example, if a member of the public were to call in and want a list of registered Asian American voters who had voted in three out of six of the last general elections, under the prior administration that would have been most likely a $5 charge – under the new administration we’d provide that record at no charge,” he said.

According to Boyett, a key reason the office is making these changes is to improve the experience for the average Alachua County resident. He said the amount of the fees was often not the true barrier to access – instead it was the hassle of having to make multiple trips to the office. “If they arrived at the office unprepared, they might have to come back a second time to make payment and then a third time to get the record…whereas now if we don’t charge for it we can simply produce the record and deliver it often on that one visit,” he said.

Boyett said the loss in revenue is small and “well worth it for that increased responsiveness to the public,” which will make the residents of Alachua County “feel like engaging with the voting process.”

The practice of inconsistent pricing is not unique to the Alachua County of Supervisor of Elections, nor are the high volume of low-cost fees in general. This audit also found evidence of a low volume of high cost fees leading to a massive discrepancy in revenue at the Charlotte County Property Appraiser’s office compared to other property appraisers. The office collected over $800 per 100,000 people in the county from only 28 requests (Figure 7).

The office charged $50 for every request.

Other property appraisers that charged for a similar percentage of records collected much less money for them. The Polk County Property Appraiser (which serves a population nearly four times the size of Charlotte County) collected just over $250 per 100,000 people with a total of 156 requests. The average fee in that office was only $10.

(Figure 7) The Charlotte County Property Appraiser collected the most money in fees of any of the agencies audited.

When asked why the office acquired so much revenue from public records, Charlotte County Property Appraiser Paul Polk said his office charges what the labor to produce the records costs. According to the office’s policy, the “minimum programming time” (i.e. the time it takes to find and collect the records) is half an hour (at a rate of $20/hour). The “minimum processing time” (i.e. the time it takes to fill out paperwork, collect fees, and other clerical work) is one hour (at a rate of $40/hour). Together that comes out to a $50 minimum fee, but the office uses it as the base fee for all its records requests. Whether a requestor is looking for a specific dataset (such as “list of all commercial and industrial vacant and improved property owners”) or just looking for a copy of the entire database, both sets cost $50. Polk said that’s because both take the same amount of time. In fact, he pointed out that the actual salaries of those employees are $45 (for processing time) and $55 (for programming time), which would bring the minimum payment up to $72.50.

Polk County collected much less revenue from public records fees per 100,000 people. Public Records Administrator Carol Walker said their site’s advanced query search is the reason for that. With it, you can find the records for the hyper specific searches online for free – the same kinds of searches that make up the bulk of Charlotte County’s $50 requests.

Walker also said that Polk County’s master file (a set of files containing every public property record often requested by data companies) is updated and put online every day by a computer script. In 2016, Charlotte County charged $50 to every company that requested it for the labor costs of creating an up-to-date file.

Both practices — agencies charging high fees for a certain level of work or low fees for every request — stem from the interpretation of a particular part of Florida public records law. The law allows for agencies to charge a service charge for the “extensive use of information technology resources” and for the labor costs of providing the record (s. 119.07(4)(d), F.S.). The only restriction the law puts on this special service charge is that it be “reasonable” and be a cost “actually incurred by the agency.”

Boyett said the small fees were based on a strict interpretation of that clause – an interpretation the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections is no longer holding as they review their fee policies. Polk, the Charlotte Property Appraiser, also cited this law as the legal basis for the fees.

Availability of Public Records Custodians

Another finding in our survey, which is corroborated by the anecdotal experience of our auditors, is the lack of contact information available online for the custodian of an agency’s public records. Florida law defines a public records custodian as “the elected or appointed state, county, or municipal officer charged with the responsibility of maintaining the office having public records, or his or her designee” (s. 119.011(5), F.S.). When asked if the agency had a designated public records custodian, 10 percent of survey respondents said they did not.

(Figure 8) Only the contact information of 60% of public records request (PRR) custodians was available online.

When asked about the availability of this information online, another 10 percent of survey respondents said they did not have the custodian’s contact information on their website. And 20 percent of respondents said they did have the information online, but independent auditors did not find it.

The lack of this information online is not only a burden for residents of the county — it also has legal consequences. The addition of language to the attorney’s fees provision of Florida Public Records Act in 2017 provided some protection for the agencies from the practice of predatory public records requests, in which litigators will submit public records request with the express intent to sue the agency and settle out of court when the request can’t be completed in a short amount of time (read more about this practice here). The new protections require complainants to provide a written notice to the agency five days before filing a civil action.

However, these protections do not apply “if the agency does not prominently post the contact information for the agency’s custodian of public records…on the agency’s website, if the agency has a website” (s. 119.12(2), F.S.). President of the First Amendment Foundation Barbara Peterson said that once the changes took place in 2017, she “thought everybody would be running out, putting the names up there, but they haven’t.”

Discussion

This report highlights the cost of public records in Florida as well as some of the problems stemming from the lack of proper data on the topic. We believe these gaps are side effects of one key problem: Florida’s public records systems are in need of digital modernization.

If agencies tracked public records requests digitally, then records about those requests could be produced and analyzed quickly. If the data associated with public records requests (e.g. when the request was made, how much did it cost, etc.) were digitized and collected in a standard format, further studies could be done to analyze best practices for record keeping, such as how much the average record of a certain kind costs. Such changes would require a large amount of coordination in a normally decentralized system, though, which could block them all together. However, just because the ideal would be difficult to implement does not mean that incremental steps toward digitization shouldn’t be attempted. Simply having a digital record (e.g. a log file of some kind) which includes fees is a simple step that some agencies are already undertaking.

The public records law itself is also in need of modernization for the digital age. Section 119.07(4) of the Florida Statutes outlines the appropriate fees agencies can charge to process a public records request. These fees are very specific when it comes to analog forms of public records. For example, Florida law dictates that printed copies cost “up to 15 cents per one-sided copy” as well as “no more than an additional 5 cents for each two-sided copy.” However, many requests are not for individual documents, but for data, which must be collected from a database. The costs for these collections range from agency to agency because of the vagueness of the statute that determines cost. The entire section is reproduced below for convenience:

If the nature or volume of public records requested to be inspected or copied pursuant to this subsection is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved, or both, the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or the labor cost of the personnel providing the service that is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency for the clerical and supervisory assistance required, or both.

The statue was added to Florida law over 30 years ago in 1984— the same year Apple launched the Macintosh in an effort to make computers more accessible to the public.

Without a clear and modern interpretation of what constitutes “extensive use of information technology” those questions are left up to individual agencies. Sometimes that can have interesting and unintended results, like when a request at the Charlotte County Property Appraiser costs $50 while a similar request at the Polk County Property Appraiser costs $4.

Even when the current law encourages some form of digitization — namely, public record custodian contact information being posted on an agency’s website — some agencies still lag behind.The lack of this contact information leaves agencies at risk for potential lawsuits — lawsuits that are funded by taxpayers. Yet even with that incentive, it’s still proven slow and difficult for state/county agencies to evolve.

Limitations

Despite the insights we gained during the audit, our findings are not as precise as we would have liked them to be due to two main limitations in our methodology. First, the fact that our survey, which was a request for information rather than a public records request, was voluntary. Second, the fact that record keeping across agencies wasn’t standardized.

Under Florida’s public records law, an agency is required to provide access to all non-exempt public records but doesn’t have to answer questions or provide information, including a response to our survey. Some organizations had security policies that prevented the record clerks from opening the survey link. Others declined to participate without providing a reason. The results we gathered are only from the agencies that took the time to volunteer information.

I don’t think there’s any way to necessarily put everything that is a public records request in some certain box

Next, our methodology required that each government agency had a proper method of keeping records. As the survey process advanced, it became clear that many agencies did not keep track of the fees collected or what information was being requested. No two agencies kept records the same way. Some agencies documented the fees quoted, fees collected, length of time it took to fill each request, and other factors, but many did not provide thorough documentation. Two agencies exported their entire email inboxes to a reporter as a way of turning over information. In another case, a records clerk told one of our reporters the agency does not keep records for any verbal requests. Some didn’t log any record of public record requests or fees collected.

The Collier County Tax Collector was one of the agencies that exported email inboxes to turn over to our team of reporters. Rob Stoneburner, an employee who handles public record requests at this agency, said Collier Tax does not keep track of what records are requested and does not plan to do so.

“I don’t think there’s any way to necessarily put everything that is a public records request in some certain box in order to dig it back out at a later date, because really everything is potentially a public record,” he said.

The lack of data on two types of agencies in particular were also a limitation of our findings. We submitted public records requests to Sheriff’s Departments and Clerks of Court as part of our audit, but those two agencies consistently receive a much larger volume of public records requests than other agencies in their counties. This resulted in our requests to the Sheriff and Clerk of Court of large metropolitan counties (like Miami-Dade) having fees that are more expensive than our grant had the ability to pay for. For that reason, we decided to exclude Sheriff and Clerks of Court data from our audit data all together rather than only have the data from the smaller counties. Data from both kinds of agencies are still available from the survey.

A Case Study

As records custodians responded to our requests, the team observed variations in the methods of delivery. Some reporters received CDs while others received boxes of paper copies. The Duval County Property Appraiser was one of the few agencies to reply to the request with a detailed spreadsheet it already had on hand. Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland has been involved in local government for 18 years, and he said he has seen some of the roadblocks we encountered.

Public records? If it’s important, they’ll request it at least three times.

The Duval County property appraiser provided this spreadsheet which showed the status and fees of public records requests made to their agency.

“I’ve seen the horrors and the nightmares of other agencies and how they handle public records,” he said. “When I was first in another office, I had a staff member who even responded one time to me saying ‘public records, if it’s important, they’ll request it at least three times before they respond’…This is not the way this is supposed to work.”

Holland said the variance in the way agencies keep track of public records requests is because of population. The more people, the more requests, he explained. And the more requests, the harder it is to keep up. But despite his role as property appraiser in Florida’s seventh largest county, the volume hasn’t been a problem.

Holland said providing the public records is the law, and his office just follows the statute. Doing so, he said, shouldn’t be as difficult as other agencies make it, and keeping those requests organized should also be simple if staffers input new information as soon as it’s available.

“It’s hard for me to get into the minds of each of the people who have to comply to public records request throughout the state. If their mind is ‘This is frivolous,’ why are they doing this? To me, this is the law, and it’s just a lot easier to abide by the law and process it and do it so that you’re consistent with whoever requests.”

Conclusion

This audit set out to find the true cost of public records in Florida but was unable to do so definitively because of the lack of comprehensive record keeping by individual agencies. This deficiency was consistent across multiple factors: metropolitan areas, rural areas, large populations and small populations. Until this public records data is properly digitized and made affordable to groups like us, the estimates provided in this report will be the most accurate ones available. This digitization could entail large multi-county systems to ensure consistency, but even a spreadsheet log as kept by some agencies could help reach the same end.

Even without a comprehensive account of the complete cost available, however, this report shows that the public records law needs a digital modernization as well. The costs associated with retrieving public records in an age of databases and PDFs are woefully undefined and vague in modern Florida law, leaving the decision of when and how much to charge to individual agencies. With no guidance from a state-level office, these agencies can charge dozens of residents a year small fees for records which are handed out for free mere miles away across the county line. Agencies can also charge for the entirety of their IT professional’s hourly salary for any time spent retrieving public records, with minimum hourly fees, while others simply don’t.

The intention of this report is not to single out individual cases of potential wrongdoing, but instead to highlight some of the systemic issues associated with the cost of getting access to public records in Florida. We hope this report serves as a template of best practices to agencies with regard to fees and record keeping. At the very least, it should spark conversation between agencies in different counties and empower them to define — together — what the best practices are, instead of deciding on their own from county to county and agency to agency. In the absence of a central authority on the matter, that might be the best route forward in the digital age.

Appendix

Table 1: Audit Data

 

County Agency Total Requests Requests With Fees Percent With Fees Requests / 100k Population Sum of Fees Sum Fees / 100k Population Average Fee Highest Fee
Alachua Tax Collector 26 0 0.00% 10.11 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Alachua Property Appraiser 16 12 75.00% 6.22 $54.99 $21.39 $54.99 $54.99
Alachua Supervisor of Elections 180 134 74.44% 70.02 $1,135.20 $441.61 $8.87 $45.00
Alachua School Superintendent 103 12 11.65% 40.07 $1,430.37 $556.43 $119.20 $555.12
Charlotte State Attorney 1 1 100.00% 0.08 $141.70 $11.31 $141.70 $141.70
Charlotte Property Appraiser 28 28 100.00% 16.43 $1,400.00 $821.36 $50.00 $50.00
Charlotte Tax Collector 11 0 0.00% 6.45 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Charlotte Supervisor of Elections 189 0 0.00% 110.88 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Collier Tax Collector 4 0 0.00% 1.14 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Collier Property Appraiser 2 2 100.00% 0.57 $95.00 $27.13 $47.00 $75.00
Collier Supervisor of Elections 9 1 11.11% 2.57 $69.20 $19.76 $69.20 $69.20
Collier Public Defender 0 0 0.00% 0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Collier School Superintendent 221 16 7.24% 63.11 $660.19 $188.52 $41.26 $124.48
Collier City Clerk for County Seat 477 17 3.56% 136.21 $2,460.56 $702.61 $144.74 $482.95
Duval Supervisor of Elections 216 33 15.28% 23.39 $577.40 $62.51 $17.50 $60.00
Duval School Superintendent 374 74 19.79% 40.49 $39,037.05 $4,226.40 $557.67 $10,820.84
Duval Property Appraiser 32 32 100.00% 3.46 $776.90 $84.11 $24.28 $147.00
Duval Public Defender 23 3 13.04% 1.91 $254.57 $21.09 $84.86 $180.76
Escambia School Superintendent 128 29 22.66% 41.29 $2,438.63 $786.69 $84.09 $418.65
Escambia Supervisor of Elections 125 0 0.00% 40.32 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Escambia Public Defender 5 0 0.00% 0.68 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Escambia State Attorney 669 14 2.09% 91.29 $675.00 $92.10 $48.21 $50.00
Escambia Tax Collector 0 0 0.00% 0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Escambia Property Appraiser 19 10 52.63% 6.13 $250.00 $80.65 $25.00 $25.00
Florida (State) Executive Office of Governor 358 0 0.00% 1.78 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Florida (State) Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services 2754 7 0.25% 13.67 $1,089.97 $5.41 $155.71 $239.12
Martin Supervisor of Elections 0 0 0.00% 0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Martin Property Appraiser 14 1 7.14% 9.28 $139.15 $92.23 $139.15 $139.15
Martin State Attorney 50 6 12.00% 7.93 $1,216.26 $192.78 $202.71 $758.86
Martin Tax Collector 13 5 38.46% 8.62 $294.50 $195.20 $58.90 $166.50
Miami Dade Property Appraiser 34 4 11.76% 1.26 $782.31 $28.97 $195.58 $621.36
Miami Dade Public Defender 9 0 0.00% 0.33 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Miami Dade School Superintendent 615 71 11.54% 22.77 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Polk Property Appraiser 166 156 93.98% 25.66 $1,654.75 $255.76 $10.61 $76.00
Polk School Superintendent 417 1 0.24% 64.45 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Volusia Tax Collector 1 0 0.00% 0.19 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Volusia Supervisor of Elections 20 7 35.00% 3.87 $180.00 $34.79 $25.71 $50.00
Volusia Property Appraiser 6 0 0.00% 1.16 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

Download data.

Table 2: Survey Data

 

County Agency Question 3 Question 4 Question 5 Question 6 Question 7 Question 8 Question 9 Question 11 Question 12 Question 13 Question 14 Question 15 Question 16
Columbia City Clerk For County Seat 240 6 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 50% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Orange Tax Collector 320 3 More than 50 but less than 100 We do not collect this data Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
St. Lucie County Administrator 780 4 More than 100 but less than 250 None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. Stayed the same None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Dixie Supervisor of Elections 3 3 More than 50 but less than 100 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes I don’t know Yes Yes Yes Yes
Orange City Clerk For County Seat 3000 5 More than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request I don’t know Less than 10% of the cost Yes Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Walton Sheriff 500 4 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost Yes No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Taylor Clerk of Court 20 20 More than 100 but less than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No No
Bradford City Clerk For County Seat 70 3 More than one but less than 50 Less than $50 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes I don’t know
DeSoto Supervisor of Elections 2 2 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No No No
Taylor School Superintendent 500 50 More than 50 but less than 100 None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. Stayed the same None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes I don’t know Yes
Union Supervisor of Elections 3 3 We do not collect this data We do not collect this data Stayed the same We recoup 100% of the costs No No No. Each agency has discretion for what or how to charge for public records No No No
Lee Tax Collector 240 15 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Seminole Property Appraiser 50 7 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Marion Property Appraiser 52 52 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes No No No
Santa Rosa Clerk of Court 115 5 More than one but less than 50 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes I don’t know No No Yes I don’t know
Gulf City Clerk For County Seat 55 2 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No
Holmes Sheriff 55 3 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost I don’t know No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes I don’t know No
Gadsden County Administrator 204 10 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same We recoup 100% of the costs No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Madison Clerk of Court 14 10 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 50% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No No No No
Okaloosa Property Appraiser 39 3 More than one but less than 50 Less than $50 Stayed the same I don’t know I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes No Yes No
Franklin Supervisor of Elections 3 3 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We do not collect this data Stayed the same I don’t know No No I don’t know Yes Yes Yes No
Marion Clerk of Court 180 180 We do not collect this data We do not collect this data Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Florida State State Attorney – 3rd Judicial Circuit 65 65 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 50% of the cost Yes Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No No
Gadsden City Clerk For County Seat 116 4 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Hardee Sheriff 108 10 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Polk City Clerk For County Seat 320 2 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pasco Sheriff 1300 3 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 50% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wakulla Clerk of Court 20 6 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Levy Sheriff 150 6 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Osceola Supervisor of Elections 16 2 More than 100 but less than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes I don’t know Yes No
Bradford School Superintendent 530 9 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bay County Administrator 688 68 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We do not collect this data Increased I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No No
Miami-Dade Sheriff 2000 60 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know I don’t know Yes No. Each agency has discretion for what or how to charge for public records Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Putnam Clerk of Court 60 2 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No I don’t know
Franklin School Superintendent 185 6 We do not collect this data We do not collect this data Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Calhoun School Superintendent 340 4 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes No Yes No
DeSoto County Administrator 200 24 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No
Madison School Superintendent 350 10 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes No Yes Yes
Nassau Supervisor of Elections 10 5 Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sumter School Superintendent 850 10 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Duval Clerk of Court 350 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sarasota County Administrator 2200 1 More than 250 Less than $50 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alachua Clerk of Court 130 7 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Pinellas Clerk of Court 530 350 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Indian River County Administrator 818 100 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 25% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Osceola County Administrator 1509 50 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 25% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pasco Clerk of Court 335 12 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost Yes Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Seminole Sheriff 1200 8 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know I don’t know Yes I don’t know Yes Yes Yes Yes
Liberty City Clerk For County Seat 9 9 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No Yes No
Franklin Clerk of Court 18 18 We do not collect this data We do not collect this data I don’t know We recoup 100% of the costs No I don’t know Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Columbia Clerk of Court 36 15 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Polk County Administrator 1900 50 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 25% of the cost Yes Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Baker City Clerk For County Seat 50 5 More than one but less than 50 None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. Stayed the same None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes No No No
Gilchrist County Administrator 85 2 More than one but less than 50 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No
Highlands Sheriff 450 10 More than 250 Less than $10 I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know Yes No. Each agency has discretion for what or how to charge for public records Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Lafayette School Superintendent 160 3 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hernando Supervisor of Elections 9 6 More than 50 but less than 100 Less than $10 Stayed the same We recoup 100% of the costs No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Highlands Clerk of Court 80 4 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Walton City Clerk For County Seat 100 100 More than 50 but less than 100 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same We recoup 100% of the costs No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No
Volusia Clerk of Court 270 200 We do not collect this data Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No Yes No
Jefferson County Administrator 175 10 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 25% of the cost No Yes I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know Yes I don’t know
Bay School Superintendent 5000 5 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request I don’t know Less than 50% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Walton School Superintendent 1200 3 More than 100 but less than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Increased I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Highlands Supervisor of Elections 8 1 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We do not collect this data Stayed the same I don’t know Yes Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Hillsborough Clerk of Court 670 670 We do not collect this data We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Decreased I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No Yes No
Leon Tax Collector 90 65 More than 50 but less than 100 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes I don’t know Yes I don’t know
St. Johns County Administrator 1800 3 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost Yes Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Washington School Superintendent 500 5 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Florida State State Attorney – 18th Judicial Circuit 5 More than 250 Less than $100 Stayed the same Less than 50% of the cost I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Okaloosa Supervisor of Elections 14 3 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes No No
Orange Clerk of Court 410 12 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Gadsden School Superintendent 800 5 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Osceola City Clerk For County Seat 700 300 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost Yes Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Calhoun Clerk of Court 12 1 More than 100 but less than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Hardee Property Appraiser 6 1 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No No No No
Florida State State Attorney – 2nd Judicial Circuit 80 2 More than 100 but less than 250 Less than $100 Stayed the same I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes
Manatee Property Appraiser 55 1 More than one but less than 50 Less than $50 Stayed the same Less than 25% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes No No No
Liberty School Superintendent 236 1 More than one but less than 50 Less than $50 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
St. Lucie Tax Collector 120 4 More than 50 but less than 100 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sumter County Administrator 209 3 More than 100 but less than 250 We do not collect this data Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No No
Bay City Clerk For County Seat 275 2 More than 100 but less than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Increased We recoup 100% of the costs No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jackson Clerk of Court 29 27 We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No
Manatee School Superintendent 7700 1 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Columbia Supervisor of Elections 9 1 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Pasco School Superintendent 10000 4 More than 100 but less than 250 Less than $50 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hernando City Clerk For County Seat 150 1 More than one but less than 50 Less than $50 Stayed the same We recoup 100% of the costs No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes
Gadsden Clerk of Court 32 32 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No No No No
Hardee County Administrator 186 10 More than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nassau City Clerk For County Seat 225 10 More than 100 but less than 250 We do not collect this data Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No
Union Tax Collector 4 4 More than one but less than 50 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request I don’t know I don’t know No Yes I don’t know Yes No No No
Suwannee Clerk of Court 34 25 We do not collect this data We do not collect this data Stayed the same I don’t know I don’t know No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Citrus Property Appraiser 50 20 We do not collect this data Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes I don’t know
Osceola Property Appraiser 57 4 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same We recoup 100% of the costs No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes I don’t know I don’t know No
Putnam Sheriff 231 4 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
St. Lucie Sheriff 650 2 More than 250 Less than $100 Stayed the same We recoup 100% of the costs I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Hernando Sheriff 500 4 More than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Increased I don’t know I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Sarasota Supervisor of Elections 30 4 More than one but less than 50 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 50% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pasco City Clerk For County Seat 87 4 More than 50 but less than 100 Less than $50 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No
St. Lucie Supervisor of Elections 20 1 More than one but less than 50 None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. I don’t know None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. No I don’t know Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes No I don’t know
Union School Superintendent 330 5 More than one but less than 50 None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. I don’t know None. Our agency does not charge for copies of public records. No No Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies No No Yes Yes
Seminole Sheriff 1360 10 More than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same I don’t know I don’t know Yes No. Each agency has discretion for what or how to charge for public records Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gulf Clerk of Court 15 1 More than 100 but less than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Florida State Department of Corrections 25,000 100 More than 250 We do not collect this data Stayed the same I don’t know I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes No
Lee School Superintendent 12,000 1 More than 250 Less than $50 Stayed the same Less than 100% of the cost I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Osceola City Clerk For County Seat 700 70% We receive PRRs, but I don’t know the number. We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Liberty Property Appraiser 3 2 We do not collect this data We do not collect this data Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost No No I don’t know No No No No
Santa Rosa Sheriff 200 5 More than 250 Less than $10 Stayed the same Less than 10% of the cost I don’t know Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes I don’t know
Bay City Clerk For County Seat 275 1 More than 250 We collect fees, but the I don’t know the amount per request Increased I don’t know No Yes Yes. All departments adhere to the same fee policies Yes Yes Yes Yes

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