Boone group requests mediation over records dispute

Watauga Democrat: A recently formed nonprofit has hit multiple hurdles after requesting records related to a Boone water intake project on the New River. The group is now asking for mediation over the dispute. 

New River Advocates, Inc., a non-profit formed this summer to protect the New River, filed a records request with the town of Boone in September asking for a 2004 water analysis and master plan created by an engineering firm. 

Initially the town said it would cost $424 to have a copy of the document made, and that was based on a cost-estimate from a private printing company. When the non-profit asked the same company for a cost estimate, they received a price quote of $132. The N.C. Public Records Law allows governments to charge for the actual cost of the copies. 

When representatives of the non-profit asked to inspect the documents, they were not permitted to take photographs. The law allows people to make their own copies of documents as long as the copying won’t damage them. The town also redacted portions of the document without explaining what exemption the removed parts fall into. 

New River Advocates filed a pre-litigation request for mediation in Watauga Superior Court on Tuesday. 

Read the Watauga Democrat‘s coverage here