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posted: 9/24/2013 5:30 AM

Prospect Hts. lists FOIA requests online

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Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer announced Monday that Freedom of Information requests are costing the city so much that he has ordered the names of all requesters and what they asked for posted on the city's website.

The list is under City Services>Administration>FOIA on the city's website, The city charged the Water Fund $3,452 for FOIA processing in August, although it was not clear what period that covered.

Lawrence Rosenthal, treasurer of the board at Rob Roy Country Club Village, said he believes his subdivision made 40 percent of the 111 requests listed on the city's website for 2013, many of them dealing with the Water Fund.

"All we are asking for are reports that already exist," he said after the meeting.

Rob Roy, which has 653 homes and a very active contingent of retired executives, is one of the few communities in Prospect Heights that gets Lake Michigan water through the city.

Kathryn Michaely, president of the association board, said her group requested information that formerly was available for viewing at the public library. The information for the current month was included in the public packet for Monday's meeting and posted on the website, but Rosenthal insisted that it could not be found in previous months.

"Water is a very expensive part of our costs at our complex," said Michaely. "Maybe we could see something in the data that would benefit both us and the city. Our board is responsible for everything that happens within our complex. Our residents ask questions, and we have to be able to answer them."

City Administrator Anne Marrin said the big cost of information requests is staff time. Anyone who files a FOIA request in Prospect Heights is entitled to the first 50 pages free, then pays 15 cents a page.

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