Open Records Requests

Adopted by Resolution 2024-19 on April 1, 2024

  1. Purpose:  The Open Records Request Policy defines the procedures and fees associated with handling public records requests to the City of Ute, Iowa. It is the policy of the City of Ute, Iowa to respond in an orderly and expeditious manner following Iowa Code Chapter 22 to requests to inspect or receive copies of public records maintained by the City of Ute.
  2. Applicability: This policy applies to all City departments, except for the Fire and Police Departments, which have their public records policies.
  3. Background: The City of Ute recognizes the right of the public to access public records maintained by the City following state law. The City also recognizes that certain records maintained by the City are not public records or may be exempt from public disclosure and that a request to access public records may require a balance of the right of the public to access the records, individual privacy rights, governmental interests, confidentiality issues, and privilege issues. Additionally, when the City responds to requests to inspect or copy records, costs are incurred by the City. This policy is adopted to balance these competing interests, to establish an orderly and consistent procedure for responding to public records requests and to support the adoption of a fee schedule designed to reimburse the City for the actual costs incurred in responding to public records requests.
  4. Designated Custodian: Iowa Code Section 22.1(2) requires government bodies to delegate an official or employee as its “lawful custodian” responsible for implementing the requirements of Iowa |Code Chapter 22 and to provide that information to the public. The City’s “lawful custodian” is the City Clerk or any employee delegated such responsibilities by the City Clerk.
  5. Public Records Requests: The following procedures shall be followed in responding to requests to inspect or receive copies of public records maintained by the City of Ute.
    • A. Records requests may come in the form of a letter, email, fax, or verbal request. To accurately and timely process a records request, the City needs to know the full extent and how to contact the requestor in case the City Clerk, or their designee has any questions or concerns. If possible, the requestor should put his or her request in writing using the City of Ute’s Public Records Request Form.
    • B. Any request for public records maintained by the City of Ute, except for police and fire records, must be referred to the City Clerk’s office for review of the request, collection of the records, and completion of the request.
    • C. The fee to be charged for providing records in response to a public records request will be following the most current fee schedule adopted by the City Council.
      • a. At the requestor’s preference, the City may make the requested records available in hard copy or electronic format. The requestor may ask the City to supply copied records either by mail, electronic mail, fax (limited to 10 pages), or pick up at Ute City Hall.
      • b. The City reserves the right to adjust the fee structure for extraordinary requests and provide a cost estimate to the requestor before request completion.
    • D. The person requesting public records can request the City to prepare an estimate of the charges that will be incurred to respond to the public records request. The City may also require an advance deposit of the estimated charges before copying any of the requested records available for inspection or copying. If the actual costs incurred by the City to respond to a records request are less than the amount of any required prepayment, the overpayment will be refunded promptly to the person or entity making the prepayment. If the actual costs incurred by the City to respond to the request are more than the among of prepayment, the City shall charge the requestor for all additional costs.
    • E. Unless otherwise prohibited by law, the City may, at the City’s discretion, furnish copies of requested records without charge or at a reduced fee if the City determines that the waiver or reduction of fees is in the public interest.
    • F. The City shall provide a reasonable opportunity for the inspection, examination, or copying of requested public records which are not exempt from disclosure. Unless otherwise approved in advance and writing by the City Clerk’s office, any inspection, examination or copying of requested records shall be done at Ute City Hall during regular City business hours.
    • G. The City reserves the right to not release copies of requested public records until the requestor pays for the corresponding charges to complete the said request.
  6. Routine and Non-Routine Records Requests:
    • A. Routine Requests.  Routine records requests are those that are expected to be completed within 15 minutes and involve less than 10 pages of material. Examples of routine records requests include but are not limited to a citizen’s request for meeting minutes or agendas, and requests for copies of specific resolutions or ordinances. 
    • B. Non-Routine Requests.  Non-routine records requests are those that are expected to take longer than 15 minutes to complete or involve more than 10 pages of material.  City staff should provide a copy of any non-routine records request to the City Clerk immediately upon receipt.  The City Clerk will coordinate the response to all non-routine records requests with affected departments.
  7. Applicable Fees:  The City’s Public Records Policy Fee Schedule (a separate document), as updated from time to time, applies to all records requests.  The City will provide 15 minutes of City staff time free of charge to respond to each requestor monthly.  Under the Fee Schedule, a financial deposit may be required, and if required, no work will begin on a request until the deposit is received. Estimated Response Time:
    • Number of Pages- Requested Anticipated Response Time
      • 01-10 Pages – 5 full business days, 11-100 Pages – 10 full business days, 101-500 Pages – 15 full business days, 501-1000 Pages – 20 full business days, 1000+ Pages – 25 full business days, Each Additional 1000 pages – Add 10 full business days per additional 1000 pages
    • The City strives to respond to open records requests within 20 business days, but the above response times are estimates and therefore are not firm.  If the requested material potentially contains confidential information or is otherwise exempt from disclosure, additional time may be required for review and possible redacting of the material. 
  8. Disclaimer: Although records provided to a requestor may be deemed “open” or “public records” within the meaning of Iowa Code Chapter 22, the City recommends that requestors use any information provided by the City to comply with all local, state, and federal laws, including but not limited to laws related to privacy, harassment, discrimination, debt collection, libel, slander, and tort.
  9. Exceptions:  Any requests for an exception or deviation from this policy must be approved in advance by the Mayor.Exceptions:  Any requests for an exception or deviation from this policy must be approved in advance by the Mayor.
  10. Questions:  Any questions concerning the City’s Public Records Policy or related procedures or fees should be directed to the records custodian:
  11. City Clerk – City of Ute, 130 E Main St, PO Box 155, Ute, IA 51060. Phone: 712-885-2237, Fax: 712-885-1705, email: [email protected]


  1. The following fees and costs may be charged according to Iowa Code Chapter 22 for access and/or copies of public records maintained by the City of Ute.


Copies of Paper DocumentsB/W – Single Sided, 8.5×11$0.10/sheet
B/W – Double Sided, 8.5×11$0.15/sheet
Color – Single Sided, 8.5×11$0.20/sheet
Color – Double Sided, 8.5×11$0.30/sheet
Oversized CopiesB/W – Single Sided, 8.5×14$0.15/sheet
B/W – Double Sided, 8.5×14$0.20/sheet
Color – Single Sided, 8.5×14$0.30/sheet
Color – Double Sided, 8.5×14$0.35/sheet
Copies of PhotographsColor – Single Sided, Copy Paper 8.5×11$0.35/sheet
Copies Sent by FaxLimit to 10 Pages$0.50/page
PostageActual Cost – Certified Mail USPSActual Cost
2. Labor Charges: The City will provide 15 minutes of City staff time free of charge to respond to each requestor. Requestors will be charged $5.00 for each additional 15 minutes of service.

3. Legal Charges: Some requests may need to be reviewed by the City Attorney. In such circumstances, the requestor will be billed for the time spent by the City Attorney at the attorney’s hourly rate as determined by the attorney’s current contract with the City of Ute.

4. Other Applicable Fees and Deposits.

a. Additional Costs.  Any costs not covered by the above fee schedule shall be charged to the requestor based on the actual costs incurred by the City, including but not limited to all amounts charged to the City by third parties in connection with the fulfillment of any records request.

b. Advance Deposits.  If the City estimates the fees for the requested services will be greater than ten dollars ($10.00), the City may require the requestor to make an advance deposit to cover all or part of the estimated fees.  If a deposit is required, no work will begin on a request until the deposit is received. Any funds collected by the City in excess of the actual fees will be refunded to the requestor in a timely manner.  If any requestor has not paid a previous amount due under this policy, the City shall require full payment of the previous amount due plus a full deposit for estimated services before processing a new request.

c. Cumulative Charges.  The charges outlined in this Fee Schedule are cumulative to the extent they reflect the actual cost to the City.  For example, if a one-page document takes 30 minutes to locate and the requestor wants the document copied and mailed, the charges will include charges for 15 minutes of retrieval services (15 free + 15 time), $0.10 for the photocopy, and the applicable postage charge for a certified mail delivery.