[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Lewistown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 12-8-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-10]
This article shall be known as the "Lewistown Borough Open Records Policy Ordinance."
This article is adopted pursuant to authority granted per the provisions of the Borough Code, Act of February 1, 1966, P.L. (1965) No. 581, § 101 et seq., as amended (8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.) and the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law, Act of February 14, 2008, P.L. 6, No. 3, § 101 et seq. (65 P.S. § 67.101 et seq.).
The Borough of Lewistown recognizes the importance of a public record as a record of the Borough's actions and as a source of information about the Borough and its actions. The public has a right to access and to obtain copies of public records, with certain exceptions, subject to law, the policy of the Borough and administrative rules and regulations. Accordingly, the Borough, in accordance with this article, the law and Borough policy and administrative rules and regulations, shall make its public records available for access, review and duplication to a requester.
Certain words as used in this article shall be defined as follows for the purposes of this article:
- FINANCIAL RECORD
- Any account, voucher or contract dealing with the receipt or disbursement of funds or the acquisition, use or disposal of services, supplies, materials, equipment or property; or the salary or other payments or expenses paid to an officer or employee, including the individual's name and title; and a financial audit report, excluding the audit's underlying work papers.
- PUBLIC RECORD
- A record, including a financial record that is not protected by a defined privilege or is not exempt from being disclosed under one of the exemptions in Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law or under other federal or state law or regulation or judicial decree or order.
- Information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that documents a Borough transaction or activity and is created, received or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a Borough transaction, business or activity, including a document, paper, letter, map, book, tape, photograph, film or sound recording, information stored or maintained electronically, and a data-processed or image-processed document.
- The Borough's notice informing a requester of a granting of access to a record or the Borough's written notice to a requester granting, denying or partially granting and partially denying access to a requested record.
- A legal resident of the United States, or an agency, who requests access to a record.
The Borough shall designate an Open Records Officer, who shall be responsible for the following:
To receive written requests for access to records submitted to the Borough.
Review and respond to written requests in accordance with law, Borough policy and administrative regulations.
Direct requests to other appropriate individuals in the Borough or in another agency.
Track the Borough's progress in responding to requests.
Issue interim and final responses to submitted requests.
Maintain a log of all record requests and their disposition.
Ensure that Borough staff is trained to perform assigned job functions relative to requests for access to records.
Upon receiving a request for access to a record, the Open Records Officer shall:
Note the date of receipt on the written request.
Compute and note on the written request the day on which the five-day time period for response will expire.
Maintain an electronic or paper copy of the written request, including all documents submitted with the request.
If the written request is denied, maintain the written request for 30 days or, if an appeal is filed, until a final determination is issued or the appeal is deemed denied.
The following guidelines shall be applicable to requests for public records:
Requesters may access and procure copies of the public records of the Borough during the regular business hours of the municipal offices.
A requester's right of access does not include the right to remove a record from the control or supervision of the Open Records Officer.
The Borough shall not limit the number of records requested.
When responding to a request for access, the Borough is not required to create a record that does not exist nor to compile, maintain, format or organize a record in a manner which the Borough does not currently use.
Information shall be made available to individuals with disabilities in an appropriate format, upon request and with sufficient advance notice.
The Borough shall post at the Municipal Building the following information:
Contact information for the Open Records Officer.
Contact information for the Office of Open Records of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or other applicable appeals officer.
Information or directions as to where the form to be used to file a request may be obtained, with a notation that the Commonwealth's Office of Open Records form may also be used if the Borough decides to create its own form.
Borough administrative regulations and procedures governing requests for access to the Borough's public records.
The following shall be applicable to the request and the form of the request:
A written request for access to a public record shall be submitted on the required form(s) and addressed to the Open Records Officer.
Written requests may be submitted to the Borough in person, by mail, to a designated facsimile machine, or to a designated e-mail address.
The Borough shall not require an explanation of the reason for the request or the intended use of the requested record, unless otherwise required by law.
Fees shall be charged as follows:
Except for any duplication fee established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Borough of Lewistown shall approve by resolution a list of reasonable fees relative to requests for public records. The Borough shall maintain a list of applicable fees and disseminate the list to requesters.
No fee may be imposed for review of a record to determine whether the record is subject to access under law.
Prior to granting access, the Borough may require prepayment of estimated fees when the fees required to fulfill the request are expected to exceed $100.
The Borough Manager may waive duplication fees when the requester duplicates the record or the Borough Manager deems it is in the public interest to do so.
Borough employees shall be directed to immediately forward requests for access to public records to the Open Records Officer.
Upon receipt of a written request for access to a record, the Open Records Officer shall determine if the requested record is a public record and if the Borough has possession, custody or control of that record.
The Open Records Officer shall respond as promptly as possible under the existing circumstances, and the initial response time shall not exceed five business days from the date the written request is received by the Open Records Officer.
The initial response shall grant access to the requested record or deny access to the requested record or partially grant and partially deny access to the requested record or notify the requester of the need for an extension of time to fully respond or request more detail from the requester to clearly identify the records requested.
If the Borough fails to respond to a request within five business days of receipt, the request for access shall be deemed denied.
If the Open Records Officer determines that an extension of time is required to respond to a request, in accordance with the factors stated in the law, a written notice shall be sent within five business days of receipt of the request. The notice shall indicate that the request for access is being reviewed, the reason that the review requires an extension, a reasonable date when the response is expected, and an estimate of applicable fees owed when the record becomes available.
Up to a thirty-day extension for one of the listed reasons does not require the consent of the requester. If the response is not given by the specified date, it shall be deemed denied on the day following that date.
A requester may consent, in writing, to an extension that exceeds 30 days, in which case the request shall be deemed denied on the day following the date specified in the written consent if the Open Records Officer has not provided a response by that date.
If the Open Records Officer determines that the request will be granted, the response shall inform the requester that access is granted and either include information on the regular business hours of the Borough office, provide electronic access, or state where the requester may go to inspect the records or information electronically at a publicly accessible site, if any. The response shall include a copy of the fee schedule in effect, a statement that prepayment of fees is required in a specified amount if access to the records will cost in excess of $100, and the medium in which the records will be provided.
A public record shall be provided to the requester in the medium requested if the public record exists in that form. Otherwise, it shall be provided in its existing medium. However, in no case whatsoever is the Borough required to permit use of its computers.
The Open Records Officer may respond to a records request by notifying the requester that the record is available through publicly accessible electronic means or that the Borough shall provide access to inspect the record electronically. If the requester, within 30 days following receipt of the Borough's notice, submits a written request to have the record converted to paper, the Borough shall provide the public record in printed form within five days of receipt of the request for conversion to paper.
A public record that the Borough does not possess but is possessed by a third party with whom the Borough has contracted to perform a governmental function and which directly relates to that governmental function shall be considered a public record of the Borough. When the Borough contracts with such a third party, the Borough shall require the contractor to agree in writing to comply with requests for such records and to provide the Borough with the requested record in a timely manner to allow the Borough to comply with law.
If the Open Records Officer determines that a public record contains information both subject to and not subject to access, the Open Records Officer shall grant access to the information which is subject to access and deny access to the information which is not subject to access. The Open Records Officer shall redact from the record the information that is not subject to access. The Open Records Officer shall not deny access to a record if information is able to be redacted.
If the Open Records Officer responds to a requester that a copy of the requested record is available for delivery at the Borough office and the requester does not retrieve the record within 60 days of the Borough's response, the Borough shall dispose of the copy and retain any fees paid to date.
When the Borough produces a record that is not a public record in response to a request, the Open Records Officer shall notify any third party that provided the record to the Borough, the person that is the subject of the record, and the requester.
The Open Records Officer shall notify a third party of a record request if the requested record contains a trade secret or confidential proprietary information, in accordance with law and administrative regulations.
If the Open Records Officer denies a request for access to a record, whether in whole or in part, a written response shall be sent within five business days of receipt of the request. The response denying the request shall include the following:
The Open Records Officer may deny a request for access to a record if the requester has made repeated requests for that same record and the repeated requests have placed an unreasonable burden on the Borough.
The Open Records Officer may deny a request for access to a record when timely access is not possible due to a disaster or when access may cause physical damage or irreparable harm to the record. To the extent possible, a public record's contents shall be made accessible even when the record is physically unavailable.
Information that is not subject to access and is redacted from a public record shall be deemed a denial.
If a written request for access to a record is denied or deemed denied, the requester may file an appeal with the Office of Open Records of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within 15 business days of the mailing date of the Open Records Officer's response or of the date of the deemed denial, as applicable.
[Adopted 7-13-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-4]
Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Municipal Records Act, Act of December 19, 1996, P.L. 1158, No. 177, as amended, 53 P.S. § 1381 et seq., as amended and, specifically, 53 P.S. §§ 1383, 1386 and 1388, as amended, the Borough of Lewistown hereby adopts and declares its intent to follow, the Retention and Disposition Schedule for Public Records of Pennsylvania Municipalities or other like schedule as is now or hereafter approved for the use of boroughs by the Local Government Records Committee established under the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, or successor agency, and in accordance with the disposition procedures approved by the Local Government Records Committee.
The Borough of Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, will follow the schedules and procedures for disposition of records as set forth in the Municipal Records Manual issued from time to time for the Local Government Records Committee by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History, and as it may thereafter be amended, supplemented or superseded. The most recent Municipal Records Manual has been issued and approved as of December 16, 2008. Upon the adoption by the Borough Council of an appropriate resolution approving the destruction, the transfer to a depository outside the Lewistown Municipal Building or any other disposition of a public record of the Borough and containing a finding or declaration that the destruction, transfer or other disposition conforms to the current Retention and Disposition Schedule for Public Records of Pennsylvania Municipalities, or other like schedule approved by the Local Government Records Committee, the Borough Secretary shall destroy, transfer or otherwise dispose of the public record in accordance with the resolution.
For the purposes of §§ 50-16 and 50-17 above, the term "public record" or a term of similar import shall mean a public record as defined by the Pennsylvania Municipal Records Act or as expressly or impliedly defined by or described in the regulations issued by the Local Government Records Committee pursuant to the Act or in the Retention and Disposition Schedule approved by the Local Government Records Committee.
[Added 10-10-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-8]
The Secretary of the Borough Council of the Borough of Lewistown, and the Secretary of any board, committee or commission or like body of the Borough of Lewistown (hereafter referred to as a "Secretary"), or any person acting at the direction of or under the authority of such Secretary is hereby authorized to make an audio or audio-visual recording of any meeting of Borough Council or any board, committee or commission or like body of the Borough of Lewistown for the purposes of creating meeting minutes. These audio or audio-visual recordings shall be recorded over or otherwise destroyed after the Secretary drafts the minutes of the meeting so recorded and said minutes are presented for approval.