Cost & Fees

You may have to pay for the records that you request from the County of Powhatan. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows us to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests. This would include items such as:

  • Copying costs
  • Other costs directly related to supplying the requested records
  • Staff time spent searching for the requested records

It can not include general overhead costs.


Fee Policy

Fees to produce FOIA requests are charged based on the time spent by the individual(s) compiling and redacting the document(s) and additional fees. The fee for time spent is calculated by the employee’s hourly salary (the total of the annual pay rate for the individual by 2,080 hours) multiplied by the time of production (measured in 6 minute increments).

The County will take all reasonable precautions to keep personnel time and costs to a minimum, including using lower paid personnel capable of retrieving records to respond to a request. However, in situations where a particular individual is required to search through his/her own email and files contained on his/her individual County computer or other device, it shall not be unreasonable for that individual to retrieve the requested records and charge a FOIA response fee corresponding to his/her salary. In some cases, it may be necessary for multiple personnel to participate in responding to a FOIA request.

Other costs of production are calculated by using the Fee Schedule, which can be found here July 2023 Fee Schedule


Extraneous Fees

No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication.


Cost Estimates

All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.


  1. A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records and shall make all reasonable efforts to supply the requested records at the lowest possible cost. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. Prior to conducting a search for records, the public body shall notify the requester in writing that the public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for requested records and inquire of the requester whether he would like to request a cost estimate in advance of the supplying of the requested records as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia


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Deposit

If we estimate that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, we may require you to pay a deposit, not to exceed the amount of the estimate, before proceeding with your request. The 5 days that we have to respond to your request does not include the time between when we ask for a deposit and when you respond.


Advance Estimates

You may request that we estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested. This will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.


Previous Balances

If you owe us money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, the County of Powhatan may require payment of the past due bill before it will respond to your new FOIA request.