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Records requests put a strain on Woodland staff

A rash of recent public records requests has led to some tough conversations on how the city of Woodland will handle what some councilors have denounced as nothing more than a taxpayer burden.

During its Sept. 6 meeting, the Woodland City Council discussed options on how to handle a significant increase on the number of public records requests relating to the city’s operations.

A letter dated Aug. 16 was mailed out to thousands of Woodland residents alerting them of a request asking for copies of all utility bills issued on June 21. Those bills would include “utility account numbers, utility account holder names, property addresses, and mailing addresses,” according to the letter.

The letter notes a “third party” who is not the city or the public records requester could seek legal action to keep the information from being released. It stated the city could keep the release from happening until Sept. 21, before which a concerned party must seek action outlined in the state’s Public Records Act, which allows for the release of the information.

The request comes from former Woodland City Clerk Mari Ripp, according to the Longview Daily News. She told the newspaper her aim was “government transparency.”

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