Village of Richfield, WI
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Richfield 8-4-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-8-2 (§ 2.06 of prior Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 83-1 Definitions.

The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
AUTHORITY
Any of the following having custody of a record: a local office, elected official, agency, board, commission, committee, council, department or public body corporate and politic created by ordinance, rule or order; a governmental or quasi-governmental corporation; any court of law; a nonprofit corporation which receives more than 50% of its funds from a county or a municipality, as defined in Ch. 59.001(3), Wis. Stats., and which provides services related to public health or safety to the county or municipality; or a formally constituted subunit of any of the foregoing.[1]
CUSTODIAN
That officer, department head, division head, or employee of the Village designated under § 83-3 or otherwise responsible by law to keep and preserve any Village records or file, deposit or keep such records in his or her office, or who is lawfully in possession or entitled to possession of such public records and who is required by this chapter to respond to requests for access to such records.
RECORD
Any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual, or electromagnetic information is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which has been created or is being kept by an authority. The term "record" includes, but is not limited to, handwritten, typed or printed pages, maps, charts, photographs, films, recordings, tapes (including computer tapes), computer printouts and optical disks. "Record" does not include drafts, notes, preliminary computations, and like materials prepared for the originator's personal use or prepared by the originator in the name of a person for whom the originator is working; materials which are purely the personal property of the custodian and have no relation to his or her office; materials to which access is limited by copyright, patent or bequest; and published materials in the possession of an authority other than a public library which are available for sale or are available for inspection at a public library.[2]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 83-2 Duty to maintain.

A. 
Except as provided under § 83-7, each officer and employee of the Village shall safely keep and preserve all records received from his or her predecessor or other persons and required by law to be filed, deposited or kept in his or her office or which are in the lawful possession or control of the officer or employee or his or her deputies, or to the possession or control of which he or she may be lawfully entitled as such officer or employee.
B. 
Upon the expiration of an officer's term of office or an employee's term of employment, or whenever the office or position of employment becomes vacant, each such officer or employee shall deliver to his or her successor all records then in his or her custody, and the successor shall receipt therefor to the officer or employee, who shall file such receipt with the Village Clerk or designee. If a vacancy occurs before a successor is selected or qualifies, such records shall be delivered to and receipted for by the Village Clerk or designee, on behalf of the successor, to be delivered to such successor upon the latter's receipt.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 83-3 Legal custodians.

A. 
Each elected official is the legal custodian of his or her records and the records of his or her office, but the official may designate an employee of his or her staff to act as the legal custodian.
B. 
Unless otherwise prohibited by law, the Clerk, or the Clerk's designee, shall act as legal custodian for the Village Board and for any committees, commissions, boards or other authorities created by ordinance or resolution of the Village Board, or in his or her absence or disability or in case of vacancy, the Deputy Clerk is designated the legal custodian of all Village records.
C. 
For every authority not specified in Subsection A or B of this section, the authority's chief administrative officer is the legal custodian for the authority, but the officer may designate an employee of his or her staff to act as the legal custodian.
D. 
Each legal custodian shall name a person to act as legal custodian in his or her absence or the absence of his or her designee.
E. 
The legal custodian shall have full legal power to render decisions and to carry out the duties of an authority under Ch. 19, Subchapter II, Wis. Stats. (Wis. Stats. § 19.21 et seq.), and this chapter. The designation of a legal custodian does not affect the powers and duties of an authority under this chapter.

§ 83-4 Public access to records; fees.

A. 
Except as provided in § 83-6, any person has a right to inspect a record and to make or receive a copy of any record as provided in § 19.35(1), Wis. Stats.
B. 
Records will be available for inspection and copying during all regular office hours.
C. 
A requester shall be permitted to use facilities comparable to those available to Village employees to inspect, copy or abstract a record.
D. 
The legal custodian may require supervision during inspection or may impose other reasonable restrictions on the manner of access to an original record if the record is irreplaceable or easily damaged.
E. 
A requester shall be charged a fee to defray the cost of locating and copying records as follows:
(1) 
The cost of photocopying as set by the Village Board from time to time. Such cost has been calculated not to exceed the actual, necessary, and direct cost of reproduction.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(2) 
If mailing or shipping is necessary, the actual cost thereof shall also be charged.
(3) 
Except as provided in Subsection E(7), there shall be no charge for locating a record unless the actual cost exceeds $50, in which case the actual cost shall be determined by the legal custodian and billed to the requester.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(4) 
The legal custodian shall estimate the cost of all applicable fees and may require a cash deposit adequate to ensure payment if such estimate exceeds $5.
(5) 
Elected and appointed officials of the Village shall not be required to pay for public records they may reasonably require for the proper performance of their official duties.
(6) 
The legal custodian may provide copies of a record without charge or at a reduced charge where he or she determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest.
(7) 
The custodian of real and personal property tax records shall establish from time to time the reasonable fees for locating, compiling, and reporting such tax records. A procedure for requesting such information shall be established and published in accordance with Subsection F of this section.
F. 
Pursuant to § 19.34, Wis. Stats., and the guidelines therein listed, each authority shall adopt, prominently display, and make available for inspection and copying at its offices, for the guidance of the public, a notice containing a description of the legal custodian from whom and the methods whereby the public may obtain information and access to records in its custody, make requests for records, or obtain copies of records, and the costs thereof. This subsection does not apply to members of the Village Board.

§ 83-5 Access procedures.

A. 
A request to inspect or copy a record shall be made to the legal custodian. A request shall be deemed sufficient if it reasonably describes the requested record or the information requested. However, a request for a record without reasonable limitation as to subject matter or length of time represented by the record does not constitute a sufficient request. A request may be made orally, but a request must be in writing before an action to enforce the request is commenced under § 19.37, Wis. Stats. Except as provided in this section, no request may be refused because the request is received by mail unless prepayment of a fee is required under § 83-4E(4). A requester may be required to show acceptable identification whenever the requested record is kept at a private residence or whenever security reasons or federal law or regulations so require.
B. 
Each custodian, upon request for any record, shall, as soon as practicable and without delay, either fill the request or notify the requester of the authority's determination to deny the request, in whole or in part, and reasons therefor. If the legal custodian, after conferring with the Village Attorney, determines that a written request is so general as to be unduly time consuming, the party making the request may first be required to itemize his or her request in a manner which would permit reasonable compliance.
C. 
A request for a record may be denied as provided in § 83-6. If a request is made orally, the request may be denied orally unless a demand for a written statement of the reasons for denying the request is made by the requester within five business days of the oral denial. If a written request is denied, in whole or in part, the requester shall receive a written statement of the reasons for denying the request. For every written denial of a record for which a request was made in writing, the determination is subject to review upon petition for a writ of mandamus under § 19.37(1), Wis. Stats., or upon application to the Attorney General or a district attorney.

§ 83-6 Limitations on right to access.

A. 
As provided by § 19.36, Wis. Stats., the following records are exempt from inspection under this chapter:
(1) 
Records specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal law or authorized to be exempted from disclosure by state law.
(2) 
Any record relating to investigating information obtained for law enforcement purposes if federal law or regulations require exemption from disclosure or if exemption from disclosure is a condition to receipt of aids by the state.
(3) 
Computer programs, although the material used as input for a computer program or the material produced as a product of the computer program is subject to inspection.
(4) 
Contractors' records. Each authority shall make available for inspection and copying under § 19.35(1), Wis. Stats., any record produced or collected under a contract entered into by the authority with a person other than an authority to the same extent as if the record were maintained by the authority. This subsection does not apply to the inspection or copying of a record under § 19.35(1)(am), Wis. Stats.
(5) 
A record or any portion of a record containing information qualifying as a common law trade secret.
B. 
As provided by § 43.30, Wis. Stats., public library circulation records are exempt from inspection under this chapter.
C. 
In responding to a request for inspection or copying of a record which is not specifically exempt from disclosure, the legal custodian, after conferring with the Village Attorney, may deny the request, in whole or in part, only if he or she determines that the harm to the public interest resulting from disclosure would outweigh the public interest in full access to the requested record. Examples of matters for which disclosure may be refused include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Records obtained under official pledges of confidentiality which were necessary and given in order to obtain the information contained in them.
(2) 
Records of current deliberations after a quasi-judicial hearing.
(3) 
Records of current deliberations concerning employment, dismissal, promotion, demotion, compensation, performance, or discipline of any Village officer or employee, or the investigation of charges against a Village officer or employee, unless such officer or employee consents to such disclosure.
(4) 
Records concerning current strategy for crime detection or prevention.
(5) 
Records of current deliberations or negotiations on the purchase of Village property, investing of Village funds, or other Village business whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require nondisclosure.
(6) 
Financial, medical, social, or personal histories or disciplinary data of specific persons which, if disclosed, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person referred to in such history or data.
(7) 
Communications between legal counsel for the Village and any officer, agent, or employee of the Village when advice is being rendered concerning strategy with respect to current litigation in which the Village or any of its officers, agents, or employees is, or is likely to become, involved, or communications which are privileged under § 905.03, Wis. Stats.
D. 
If a record contains information that may be made public and information that may not be made public, the custodian of the record shall provide the information that may be made public and delete the information that may not be made public from the record before release. The custodian shall confer with the Village Attorney prior to releasing any such record and shall follow the guidance of the Village Attorney when separating out the exempt material. If in the judgment of the custodian and the Village Attorney there is no feasible way to separate the exempt material from the nonexempt material without unreasonably jeopardizing nondisclosure of the exempt material, the entire record shall be withheld from disclosure.

§ 83-7 Destruction of records.

A. 
Pursuant to § 19.21(4), Wis. Stats., Village officers may destroy the following records of which they are the legal custodian and which are considered obsolete, but not less than seven years after the record was effective, unless another period has been set by statute, and then after such a period, or unless a shorter period has been fixed by the State Public Records Board, pursuant to § 16.61(3)(e), Wis. Stats., and then after such a shorter period:
(1) 
Notices of tax apportionment received from the County Clerk, after three years.
(2) 
Copies of lists of Village officers certified to the County Clerk by the Village Clerk or designee, after the date of expiration of the term listed.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(3) 
Copies of crop reports made to the County Clerk by the Village Assessor, after three years.
(4) 
Records of illegal tax certificates charged back to the Village, three years after date of charging back the certificates.
(5) 
Official bonds, after six years.
(6) 
Claims filed against or paid by the Village and papers supporting such claims, after seven years.
(7) 
Contracts, notices of taking bids, and insurance policies to which the Village is a party, seven years after the last effective date thereof.
(8) 
Election notices and proofs of publication and correspondence filed in connection with such notices, one year after the date of the election, except in cases where an election is contested, in which case such records shall be retained until one year after the contest has been settled.
(9) 
Copies of reports of the Village Treasurer to the County Clerk on dog licenses sold and records of dog licenses issued, after three years.
(10) 
Village Clerk's or designee's copies of receipts issued by the Village Treasurer or designee, four years or until after being competently audited, whichever date is earlier.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(11) 
Notices given by the County Clerk to the Village Assessor setting out lands owned and sold by the county, after three years.
(12) 
Tax receipts, after 15 years.
(13) 
All other receipts of the County Treasurer, after seven years.
(14) 
Canceled checks and Village orders, after seven years.
(15) 
Oaths of office, after seven years.
(16) 
Notices for which no other provision is made, after seven years.
(17) 
County Treasurer's receipts received under § 74.19, Wis. Stats., after 15 years.
(18) 
Correspondence, after six years, except correspondence had in connection with records which may be destroyed only after a longer period shall not be destroyed until after such longer period, and except that correspondence had in connection with records which may be destroyed after less than six years may be destroyed after such lesser period.
(19) 
Blanks and papers used by the Village Assessor in the discharge of his or her duties, after seven years. No assessment roll containing forest crop acreage may be destroyed without prior approval of the Secretary of Revenue.
B. 
Unless notice is waived by the State Historical Society, at least 60 days' notice shall be given to the State Historical Society prior to the destruction of any record, as provided by § 19.21(4)(a), Wis. Stats.
C. 
Any tape recordings of a governmental meeting of the Village may be destroyed, erased or reused no sooner than 90 days after the minutes of the meeting have been approved if the purpose of the recording was to make minutes of the meeting.

§ 83-8 Preservation through digital files.

Any Village officer or the director of any department or division of Village government may, subject to the approval of the Village Administrator, keep and preserve public records in his or her possession by means of Laserfiche® or other photographic reproduction method. Such records shall meet the standards for photographic reproduction set forth in § 16.61(7)(a) and (b), Wis. Stats., and shall be considered original records for all purposes. Such records shall be preserved along with other files of the department or division and shall be open to public inspection and copying according to the provisions of state and local law.