Public Records Policy
The purpose of this Policy is to provide rules by which the Jackson County Utility Authority (hereinafter referred to as “JCUA” or the “Utility”) implements and ensure compliance with the provisions of Public Records Act for the JCUA’s public records.
Interpretation and Construction
The provisions of this Policy shall be interpreted and construed to promote proper access to the JCUA’s public records in order to assure continuing public confidence in the JCUA: provided, that when making public records available the Utility shall prevent unreasonable invasions of privacy, shall protect public records from damage or disorganization, and shall prevent excessive interference with essential Utility functions and/or excessive costs.
Public Records Available
Public records shall be made available for public inspection and copying pursuant to this Policy.
Public records and information exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act or any other law are exempt from disclosure under this Policy.
Public Records Officer Designation
A Public Records Officer shall serve as the point of contact for members of the public who request disclosure of public records. The Public Records Officer shall be responsible for implementation of and compliance with this Policy and the Public Records Act.
A Public Records Officer for the JCUA and an alternate Public Records Officer shall be designated by the JCUA to act when the designated Public Records Officer is absent or otherwise unavailable to act.
Public Records Requests – How Made
Public records may be inspected an/or copies may be obtained under the following procedures:
A. A request for public records shall be directed to the Public Records Officer for the JCUA (Christine Suthoff), with a copy to JCUA legal counsel (James H. Heidelberg).
B. A request for public records shall be made in writing and include the following information:
1. The requester’s name, mailing address, and telephone number;
2. The date of the request;
3. A clear indication that the document is a “Public Records Request;”
4. Whether the request is to inspect the public records or or copies of public records, or both;
5. A clear description of the public records requested for inspection and/or copying;
6. If the request is for a list of individuals, a statement that the list will not be used for any commercial purposes or that the requester is authorized or directed by law to obtain the list of individuals for commercial purposes. With a specific reference to such law: and
7. Whether the request is for printed or digital copies of the public record.
C. The JCUA shall develop and maintain forms to facilitate public records requests.
Inspection of Public Records – Where and When
Public records shall be inspectedat the offices of the JCUA. Public records shall be available for inspection from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays: provided, that there is no obligation to allow inspection immediately upon a demand. The Public Records Officer may request that the person seeking to inspect public records shall schedule an appointment for inspection reasonably in advance of the time in question.
Response to Public Records Requests
There is no obligation to allow inspection or provide a copy of a public record on demand.
Within five business days after receiving a public record request, the Public Records Officer shall respond to therequest in writing. The Public Officer shall make one or more of the following responses:
A. The request for inspection of public records is approved and whether an appointment for inspection needs to be scheduled by the requester;
B. The request for copies of public records is approved and the copies of all requested records are enclosed with the response;
C. The request for inspection or copying needs to be clarified;
D. The request has been received by the Public Records Officer, that additional time is needed to respond to the request, and stating a reasonable estimate of the time required to respond;
E. The request has been received by the Public Records Officer and the records shall be provided on a partial or installment basis as the records are identified, located, and assembled and/or made ready for inspection or copying; or
F. The request is denied, in whole or in part, whether by withholding a requested record or redacting a requested record, stating the specific exemption(s) prohibiting disclosure and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to each withheld and redacted record.
Additional time to respond to a request may be based upon the JCUA’s need to:
A. Clarify the intent of the request;
B. Identify, locate, assemble and/or make the records ready for inspection or disclosure;
C. Notify third persons or agencies affected by the request; or
D. Determine whether any of the records or information requested is exempt from disclosure and whether a denial should be made as to all or part of the request.
If a requester fails to clarify the request after receiving a response from the Public Records Officer seeking clarification, the Public Records Officer need not respond further to the request.
When a request for public records is received that concerns a subject known to involve litigation whether pending, threatened or anticipated, the Public Records Officer shall promptly notify counsel for the JCUA. Copies of the request, all correspondence between the Public Records Officer and the requester and copies of the public records provided to the requester shall be delivered to counsel for the JCUA who will response on behalf of the JCUA, and therafter all questions regarding the record shall be through JCUA counsel rather than JCUA personnel directly.
Copying and Delivery Fees
The following fee schedule is applicable:
Single Side Only (8.5”x11” pages or less) $0.25/copy
Maps or Documents (over 8.5”x11”) $25.00-$30.00
Certified copies/transcripts per page $2.50 Each
Copy Fee $10.00/hour
Legal Research Time $50.00/hour
Legal Services to locate and/or determine releases (+ charges per copy) $125.00/hour
Computer Research $50.00/hour
Engineering related research & computation (+ charges per copy) $100.00/hour
Legal related research & computation (+ charges per copy) $125.00/hour
For documents to be mailed, postage will be charged.
*If the charges are unknown, the JCUA will request a reasonable advance of fees.
Protection of Public Records
Each Public Records Officer shall, to the extent practicable, insure that records requested are not misplaced or misfiled by members of the public during inspections and not removed from the JCUA office. Original public records shall not be released to the public for any purpose.
Review of Denied Request
Any person who objects otthe denial of a request for a public record may petition counsel for the JCUA for prompt review of such decision by delivering a written request to counsel and include all written responses by the Public Records Officer or other person denying the request.
Counsel for the JCUA shall affirm, modify or reverse the denial in writing within five business days following receipt of the written request for review.
A requester’s administrative remedies shall not be deemed exhausted until counsel for the JCUA has made a written decision or until the close of the fifth business day following counsel’s receipt of the written request, whichever occurs first.
The JCUA shall be deemed to have made a final decision denying the request for public records only after a review conducted under this section of the Policy has been completed.
Electronic Information – Electronic Records
JCUA produces and maintains data in electronic records to maximize efficiency in fulfilling its basic public service functions. These electronic records relate to the operation and conduct of the JCUA and typically include financial data, property records, property assessment records, filed documents, maps, etc.
At the option of the Public Records Officer, electronic records may be printed and provided in paper format. If the electronic record is large and/or not capable of being printed in an understandable format, then the electronic record may be provided in the digital format in which the record is maintained by the JCUA. The JCUA does not have the obligation to convert an electronic record to a digital format that is different than the form maintained by the JCUA. Fees for providing electronic records in electronic form shall be based on the actual cost of the media used to provide the records.
The JCUA does not warrant or in any way guarantee the accuracy or completeness of electronic records. Requesters receiving electronic records shall be required to sign an acknowledgment of this disclaimer.
Copies of Policy Available to Public
Copies of this Policy and public records request forms shall be available to and provided to the public, without cost, at the JCUA office.
Click on the link below to access the JCUA Public Record Request Form via PDF.