Chapter 2.14
PUBLIC RECORDS Revised 3/18

Sections:

2.14.010    Authority and purpose. Revised 3/18

2.14.020    Adopted by reference. Revised 3/18

2.14.030    Public records officer. Revised 3/18

2.14.040    Scope of rules authorized. Revised 3/18

2.14.050    Indexing of records. Revised 3/18

2.14.060    Exemptions. Revised 3/18

2.14.070    Fees. Revised 3/18

2.14.010 Authority and purpose. Revised 3/18

A. The Washington State Public Records Act (Act), Chapter 42.56 RCW, requires the city of Mercer Island (city) to make available for inspection and copying public records in accordance with the city’s published rules. The Act defines “public record” as any “writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained” regardless of physical form or characteristics.

B. The city manager is authorized to establish a Public Records Act policy to adopt reasonable rules, consistent with the intent of the Act and the Model Rules in Chapter 44-14 WAC, that provide the public full access to public records with “fullest assistance” to requesters and the “most timely possible action on requests,” while protecting public records from damage and disorganization, preventing excessive interference with other essential functions of the city, and withholding certain public records from disclosure subject to various legal exemptions. (Ord. 18C-01 § 1).

2.14.020 Adopted by reference. Revised 3/18

Chapter 42.56 RCW, as presently written and as it may be hereafter amended, shall be and is hereby adopted by reference. The city shall rely on the Washington State Attorney General’s Model Rules on Public Disclosure (Chapter 44-14 WAC) as adopted or hereafter amended, as guidance on complying with Chapter 42.56 RCW. (Ord. 18C-01 § 1).

2.14.030 Public records officer. Revised 3/18

A. The city manager shall designate a public records officer to oversee the city’s compliance with the public records requirements of this chapter and Chapter 42.56 RCW. The public records officer may delegate the duties and responsibilities of complying with a public records request to another city employee. The officer’s responsibilities will be contained in the city’s PRA rules.

B. The public records officer shall complete Public Records Act and records retention training as set forth in RCW 42.56.152. (Ord. 18C-01 § 1).

2.14.040 Scope of rules authorized. Revised 3/18

A. As required by the Act, the public records officer has established the City of Mercer Island Public Records Act Rules of Procedure (PRA rules) and is authorized to amend the PRA rules as needed.

B. The PRA rules shall set forth the procedure for making, responding to, inspecting, and copying records requests; protecting records from damage or disorganization; preventing excess interference with Mercer Island’s other essential functions; providing “fullest assistance” to requesters and the “most timely” possible action on requests.

C. The PRA rules are posted on the city’s website at www.mercergov.org/prr. (Ord. 18C-01 § 1).

2.14.050 Indexing of records. Revised 3/18

The city manager shall declare that maintaining a central index of city records is unduly burdensome, costly, and would interfere with city operations due to the number and complexity of records generated as a result of a wide range of city activities. (Ord. 18C-01 § 1).

2.14.060 Exemptions. Revised 3/18

The Public Records Act provides that a number of documents and information are exempt from public inspection and copying. These exemptions are found in Chapter 42.56 RCW and other statutes outside of the Act that may prohibit disclosure of specific information or records. (Ord. 18C-01 § 1).

2.14.070 Fees. Revised 3/18

A. Pursuant to RCW 42.56.120(b), the city has determined it is an undue burden to calculate individual charges for providing records, as the city does not have the resources to devote to conducting a study to determine actual copying costs for all its records and to conduct such a study would interfere with other essential agency functions and the city adopts Washington State statutory default fees for costs of copies of records under the Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW, as set forth in the table below:

1.    Photocopies, per page

$0.15

2.    Printed copies of electronic records, per page

$0.15

3.    Scanning paper records, per page

$0.10

4.    Electronic files or attachments uploaded for electronic delivery (email, cloud based data storage service, or other means of electronic delivery), for each four files

$0.05

5.    Transmission of records in an electronic format or for the use of agency equipment to send the records electronically, per gigabyte (GB)

$0.10

6.    Any digital storage media or device provided by the agency

Actual cost

B. When records are provided electronically on a CD, DVD, thumb drive, or other electronic device, the requester will be charged for the cost of the electronic storage device. The city may charge an actual-cost service charge for requests that require use of IT expertise to prepare data compilations or provide customized electronic access services when not used by the city for other purposes. A cost estimate and explanation will be provided to the requester before incurring the costs.

C. The city may charge its actual out of pocket costs incurred to hire third parties for printing and/or copying records produced in response to a public records request.

D. As authorized by RCW 42.56.120(2)(c), and referenced in the table above, the city may combine charges to the extent that more than one type of charge applies to copies produced in response to a particular request.

E. The city may waive charges associated with fulfilling a request. The decision will be based on various factors, including the volume and format of the responsive documents.

F. The decision to assess fees for fulfilling a public records request shall be made on a consistent and equitable basis, dependent primarily upon the amount of staff time required for copying, scanning, shipping, uploading, and/or transmitting the records associated with fulfilling a request. (Ord. 18C-01 § 1).