The City’s Public Records Policy (G-5) ensures that the City’s public records are retained and accessible in accordance with Florida law. (effective 01/07/2020)
What is a Public Record?
Currently, “Public records” is defined by Florida Statute Section 119.011(12), as may be amended by the Florida Legislature. Currently, “public records” means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency. The Florida Supreme Court has interpreted this definition to include “any material prepared in connection with official agency business which is intended to perpetuate, communicate, or formalize knowledge of some type.” By way of example, computer records, e-mails, Facebook entries, tape recordings, text messages, voicemails, and instant messages are public records when they are made or received by a City employee in connection with official City business and are used to perpetuate, communicate, or formalize knowledge.
Public Records Exemptions
State law has designated certain materials or information as exempt or confidential. If the public record contains confidential information, that information must be redacted before the remaining information can be released. Depending on the volume of records that require review for such exempt or confidential information, a special service charge may be assessed. To view what qualifies as an exemption, please view Florida's Government in the Sunshine Manual, as provided by the Florida Attorney General.
Cost for Public Records
Section 119.07, Florida Statutes authorizes local jurisdictions to impose a special service charge associated with extensive staff time and resources required for the provision of public records. Making records request as specific as possible will help staff to locate the record more quickly at lower cost.
Copies Special Service Charges
- Any person may inspect public records in the presence of a City employee (or designee), and he or she may tab, clip, or in some other form, identify which documents he or she would like copied. The City employee shall provide an estimate of the cost of the requested copies and collect all copy costs from the person requesting copies of public records prior to making any copies.
- City employees shall charge for all copies of public records the rates allowable by Florida law, as may be amended; provided, however, that the first ten (10) copies, per person shall be without charge. Currently, the rates allowable by Florida law and this Policy are as follows:
| First ten (10) paper copies
|Copies of not more thank 14 inches by 8 1/2 inches
|15 cents per page (single or double sided)
|Certified copies of a public record
||1 dollar per certified copy
|CDs and DVDs
|1 dollar per disc
|For all other copies copies (e.g., maps or plats)
|Actual cost of duplication
- If the nature or volume of public records requested to be inspected or copied is such as to require extensive use (more than 15 minutes) of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by the City employees involved, City employees shall charge, in addition to copy costs, a special service charge, which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or the labor cost of the City employees providing the service that is actually incurred by the City or attributable to the City for the clerical and supervisory assistance required, or both. The special service charge shall be computed to the nearest quarter of an hour exceeding 15 minutes based on the current gross rate of pay of the lowest paid person who is capable of performing the service, including fringe benefits based on an annual average rate for City employees. The charge should be calculated based on the time spent by the each City employee providing the service after the request is routed to the appropriate department/division that retains custody of the public records. The charge should not include time spent by the Records Management Liaison Officers for the City, but should include time spent by other City staff including IT employees. The charge will be assessed when appropriate regardless of the number of individual copies made.
- The requestor will be notified of any and all potential charges associated with their public records request prior to inspection and copying. Prior to the City making and providing copies to the requestor and using extensive information technology resources or staff time to respond to a public records request, City must provide a written estimate of the charges to the requestor and the requestor shall pay an advance deposit of all charges to the City. If the advance deposit exceeds the actual cost of production, the City shall refund the excess amount to the requestor. If the City determines that the actual charges incurred by the City exceed the advance deposit, the City shall provide all records compiled to the requestor and must cease efforts to produce the remaining records. If additional time or resources are necessary to produce the remaining records in order to fulfill the request completely, the City shall provide a second estimate for additional time or resources necessary to fulfill the request and the requestor shall pay a second advance deposit prior to the City producing the remainder of the records.
- If the City provides an estimate of the special service charge to the requestor and if the requestor does not respond within 30 days after the date the City provided the estimate, the City will not fulfill the request until payment is received. However, the City will provide to the requestor any records it was able to compile during the 15 minutes the City spent to locate, review for exempt or confidential information, and copy and re-file the requested material.