Chapter 2.21


2.21.010    Relationship to Public Records Act.

2.21.020    Public Records Officer.

2.21.030    Maintenance of records.

2.21.040    Index of public records – Findings.

2.21.050    Index of public records – Order.

2.21.060    Disclosure of public records.

2.21.070    Procedure for inspection or copying.

2.21.080    Processing public records requests – Review of decision.

2.21.090    Exceptions.

2.21.100    Reimbursement for copying costs or transmission of electronic records.

2.21.010 Relationship to Public Records Act.

This chapter constitutes the City’s rules and regulations to carry out and implement the Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.020 Public Records Officer.

A.    The City Clerk shall serve as the City’s Public Records Officer. Contact information for the City Clerk will be made available to the public in a manner reasonably calculated to provide notice of to whom members of the public may direct requests, such as posting such contact information at City Hall or on the City’s Internet website. The Public Records Officer shall complete training as required by RCW 42.56.152 on the Public Records Act (Chapter 42.56 RCW) and records retention (Chapter 40.14 RCW). This training is required after the PRO assumes responsibilities and under the schedule in RCW 42.56.152 for refresher courses.

B.    Each department manager will designate a public disclosure request coordinator to oversee requests for their department. The coordinator will respond to requests and maintain a log of such requests. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.030 Maintenance of records.

All substantive and procedural rules of general applicability, including but not limited to ordinances and resolutions of the City Council, minutes of the regular meetings of the City Council, and statements of general policy, and all public contracts, deeds, easements and leases shall be indexed and maintained by the City Clerk. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.040 Index of public records – Findings.

A.    The Public Records Act requires all cities and public agencies to maintain and make available a current index of all public records.

B.    RCW 42.56.070(4) provides that an agency need not maintain such an index if to do so would be unduly burdensome, but it must issue and publish a formal order specifying the reasons why and the extent to which compliance would be unduly burdensome or would interfere with agency operations.

C.    The City is comprised of numerous departments, their divisions and subdivisions, many if not all of which maintain separate databases and/or systems for the indexing of records and information.

D.    Because the City has records which are diverse, complex and stored in multiple locations and in multiple computer systems, formats and/or databases, it is unduly burdensome, if not physically impossible, to maintain a current index of all records. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.050 Index of public records – Order.

Based upon the findings set forth in FMC 2.21.040, and pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(4), a local agency need not maintain such an index, if to do so would be unduly burdensome, but shall in that event: (A) issue and publish a formal order specifying the reason why and the extent to which compliance would unduly burden or interfere with agency operations; and (B) make available for public inspection and copying all indexes maintained for agency use.

The City Councils order the following:

A.    The City is not required to maintain an all-inclusive index of public records due to the undue burden and near-impossibility of maintaining such an index.

B.    The City will make available for inspection and/or copying all public records, including any indexes that are maintained by the City as set forth in FMC 2.21.030, except to the extent that such records are exempt from public disclosure. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.060 Disclosure of public records.

Unless exempt from disclosure under this chapter or other law, public records shall be available for inspection and copying in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.070 Procedure for inspection or copying.

A.    All persons desiring to inspect or obtain a copy of any public record must make their request in writing to the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall create and avail for public use a standard form by which a requestor may specify particular public records and provide the requestor’s relevant contact information. Reasonable assistance as may be necessary to help a requestor locate particular records shall be provided either by the City Clerk or by the City department maintaining the records; provided, that the provision of such assistance shall not unreasonably disrupt the normal operations of the City Clerk, the department, or the assisting employee.

B.    Except to the extent required or authorized by law, the City Clerk or other City employee shall not distinguish among persons requesting records. Persons requesting records shall not be required to provide information as to the purpose for the request, except to establish whether the inspection or copying would violate Chapter 42.56 RCW or other statute or ordinance that exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records to certain persons. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.080 Processing public records requests – Review of decision.

A.    Responses to requests for public records shall be made promptly pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW. Within five business days of the date of receipt by the City of a written request for a record the City Clerk shall:

1.    Provide the record; or

2.    Acknowledge that the City has received the request and (a) provide a reasonable estimate of the time the City will require to respond to the request, or (b) request clarification; or

3.    Deny the request in whole or in part.

B.    Public records may be made available on a partial or installment basis as records that are part of a larger set of requested records are assembled or made ready for public inspection or copying. Additional time to respond to a request may be based upon the need to clarify the intent of the request, to locate and assemble the information requested, to notify third persons or agencies affected by the request, or to determine whether any of the information requested is exempt. If a public records request is unclear, the City Clerk may ask the requestor to clarify what information the requestor is seeking. If the requestor fails to clarify the request, and the entire request is unclear, the City need not further respond to or process the request. Otherwise, the City must respond to those portions of the request that are clear.

C.    If the City Clerk determines that the document is exempt in part but can be made available after deletion of exempt portions, the request shall be granted; provided, that such exempt portions shall first be deleted. If the City Clerk determines to deny the request, in whole or in part, a written statement of the specific reason for the denial shall be provided to the requestor; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed as requiring the City to disclose portions of a requested document if the entire document is exempt from disclosure.

D.    In the event the City Clerk denies inspection of all or any part of a request, the City Clerk may seek review by the City Attorney. The City Clerk will notify the requestor by mail of the decision to grant or deny the request.

E.    A public record request must be for identifiable records. A request for all or substantially all records prepared, owned, used, or retained by an agency is not a valid request for identifiable records; provided, that a request for all records regarding a particular topic or containing a particular keyword or name shall not be considered a request for all of the City’s records.

F.    The City may deny a bot request that is one of multiple requests from the requestor to the agency within a 24-hour period, if the City establishes that responding to the multiple requests would cause excessive interference with other essential functions of the City. A “bot” request means a request for public records that the City reasonably believes was automatically generated by a computer program or script. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.090 Exceptions.

The City adopts by reference the exemptions from public disclosure contained in Chapter 42.56 RCW, including any future amendments thereto or recodification thereof, along with any other exemption or exception to the Public Records Act provided by law, including but not limited to those exemptions set forth in Appendix C to “Public Records Act for Washington Cities and Counties,” Municipal Research and Services Center, Report No. 61, July 2006, a copy of which shall be maintained in the office of the City Clerk. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)

2.21.100 Reimbursement for copying costs or transmission of electronic records.

A.    No fee shall be charged for the inspection of public records. Any person who requests a photocopy or an electronic copy of any public record from the City Clerk shall pay to the City Clerk or designee a copying charge. The copying charges for public records, including but not limited to photocopies, maps, photographs including slides, audio tape recording, video tape recording and diskettes, shall be contained in the City’s fee code/ordinance as follows:

1.    Fifteen cents per page for black and white photocopies (eight and one-half by 11);

2.    One dollar per page for color photocopies (eight and one-half by 11);

3.    Thirty cents per page for black and white photocopies (11 by 17);

4.    Two dollars per page for color photocopies (11 by 17);

5.    Six dollars per page for large format photocopies;

6.    Sixteen dollars for audio tape copies;

7.    Five dollars for audio CDs;

8.    One dollar per page for certified copies;

9.    Ten cents per page for public records scanned into an electronic format or for the use of agency equipment to scan the records;

10.    Five cents per each four electronic files or attachments uploaded to e-mail, cloud-based data storage service or other means of electronic delivery;

11.    Ten cents per gigabyte for the transmission of public records in an electronic format or for the use of agency equipment to send the records electronically. The City shall take reasonable steps to provide the records in the most efficient manner available to the agency in its normal operations.

B.    The City may charge a flat fee of up to $2.00 for any request as an alternative to fees authorized under subsection (A) of this section when the City reasonably estimates and documents that the costs allowed under this subsection are clearly equal to or more than $2.00. An additional flat fee shall not be charged for any installment after the first installment of a request produced in installments. If the City has elected to charge the flat fee in this subsection for an initial installment, it may not charge the fees authorized under subsection (A) of this section on subsequent installments.

C.    The City may charge all costs directly incident to shipping such public records, including but not limited to the cost of postage or delivery charges and the cost of any container or envelope pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(7).

D.    The City may, at its discretion, require the requestor to deposit a sum in an amount not to exceed 10 percent of the estimated cost of providing copies for a request including a customized service charge as authorized under subsection (F) of this section. If the records are made available on a partial or installment basis, the City may charge for each part of the request as it is provided. If an installment of a records request is not paid for or reviewed within 20 days after the City provides notice of availability of the installment, the City is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request.

E.    Where the request is for a certified copy, there shall be an additional charge in the amount established in the City’s fee code/ordinance to cover the additional expense and time required for certification.

F.    A customized service charge may be imposed if the City reasonably determines that the request requires the use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations, or provide customized electronic access services when such compilations and customized access services are not used by the City for other purposes. The customized service charge may reimburse the City up to the actual cost of providing the information technology service, as determined by the City’s selected service provider. The City may only impose a customized service charge if the requestor has been notified of the charge to be applied to the request, including an explanation of why the customized service charge applies, a description of the specific expertise, and a reasonable estimate of the charge. The notice also must provide the requestor the opportunity to amend the request in order to avoid or reduce the cost of a customized service charge. (Ord. 2013 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1571 § 1, 2010)