The city of Cortez has updated its records policy to comply with Colorado open records law and be more accessible, according to staff.
The policy aims to ensure “prompt and equitable service to citizens requesting access to public records, regardless of the format of those records,” according to the policy. Previously, it was difficult for City Clerk Linda Smith to comply with requests, said City Attorney Mike Green.
“There’s been some changes to the law,” Green said at the City Council’s regular meeting May 14. “There’s been some changes into the types and quantities and qualities of the requests we’ve been getting, and our policies didn’t enable staff – primarily Linda Smith, the clerk who’s the custodian of all the records except the court records and the police records – to be able to answer and handle these requests.”
The resolution was approved unanimously.
The last time the city’s policy was reviewed was when Jay Harrington was serving as city manager, Green said. Harrington held the post from September 2007 through August 2011.
The new policy can handle situations that have arisen from changing technologies, Green told The Journal in a phone interview.
State law defines public records as writings “made, maintained, or kept … by any local government-financed entity” related to functions required or authorized by law, administrative rule or the use of public funds.
This includes correspondence of elected officials, unless that correspondence is a work product, lacks a provable connection to functions “required by law or administrative rule” or is confidential because of a constituent’s intent or legal proceedings.
State-defined “writings” vary in form and include books, papers, maps, photographs, tapes and disks. Records requests in Cortez should be made in writing or in person to City Clerk Smith, who has three days to respond.
Requesters will not be charged for their first 10 standard-size pages over the course of a year, but after that fees may be charged at a rate of 25 cents per page.
Additional fees may be charged for research and retrieval costs, the data manipulation necessary to generate the record, and for providing copies of electronically stored public records.