From the Observer and Eccentric:
A $5 initiation fee is collected with the written FOIA and a 50-percent deposit is required for the cost of copying records.
“They must request an existing public document. Legally, we can't create a document (to fulfill a request),” Schoof said. “The person making a request must know what they are looking for.”
The Westland city clerk's web site spells out a summary of the policy:
Freedom of Information requests are filed with the City Clerk’s office. They are to be used if you are inquiring about any existing public documents from any Department of the City. The Freedom of Information Act states the public entity is not required to make a compilation, summary, or report of information. Also, the City may charge a reasonable fee for the research and copying of documents covered in the request. The research fee is based on the hourly wage plus the cost of fringe benefits for that hour of the lowest paid Clerical employee in the City. This fee is $45.61 per hour and is charged in fifteen minute increments. Also, the cost of copying is $1.00 per page. A $5.00 minimum fee is required.
The relevant parts of Michigan laws on FOIA fees are at MCL 15.234. The plain text of the law includes no mention of allowable minimum fees.
Some comparable Michigan FOIA fee schedules:
- Eastern Michigan University: Fees waived if the cost is less than $10.00.
- University of Michigan: $0.05 per page for copying; research fees waived if there is less than two hours of work.
- Western Michigan University: $0.05 per page for copying; research fees waived if there is less than two hours of work.
- Livonia Police Department: Minimum $5.00 fee for records searches.
- City of Ann Arbor: $0.05 per page; research fees waived if there is less than one hour of work.
- City of Detroit: No fee schedule provided.
- City of Grand Rapids: No fee schedule provided.
- City of Lansing: No fee schedule provided.
- City of Marquette: $0.25 per page; research fees waived if there is less than one half hour of work.
- City of Traverse City: $0.25 per page for the first 5 pages, thereafter $0.10 per page.