As soon as we got word that the city of Memphis was charging an exorbitant fee for the MAS security camera footage FOIA request, we requested an explanation as well as a fee waiver. While we didn’t get the fee waiver, we did get an explanation of sorts from Chandell Ryan the Senior Assistant City Attorney and a substantial fee reduction.
Ms. Ryan stated that the “February 2012 invoice was based on the best estimate that could be made at the time” for the city’s costs in duplicating 12 hours worth of footage from 48 cameras. In addition, the fee was discounted by half “due to some confusion around the request”. After duplicating the 12 hours worth of footage for 48 cameras, “the time parameters for obtaining the requested footage is better understood” and thus the eye popping price jump. In the future, if we request 12 hours worth of footage from the equivalent of 20 cameras (10 cameras X 2 days in this case), it will apparently cost $800. But for this time only, we are being allowed to pay what we paid last time – a little over $200.
I have sent $210 of the $807.30 that was collected for the FOIA leaving a balance of $597.30. One option is to calculate how much of a refund is due each contributor based upon the amount of the contribution. That would be a very time consuming task and Paypal would be getting another set of fees. The better option to my mind is to file another FOIA request in the near future and put the $597.30 toward that. Any thoughts?
The discs have been paid for and I am expecting to receive them in the mail tomorrow.