FLINT TWP. — Effective July 1, anyone requesting public records from Flint Township will do so under recently revised and updated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guidelines and procedures, approved by the township board.
The lengthy document that spells out who can and how to request information was written by township attorney Peter Goodstein, said Clerk Kim Courts, who is the FOIA coordinator for township business. Lt. Robert Battinkoff is the designated coordinator for the police department, she said.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller noted that the guidelines states a fee amount the township can charge for copies of documents.
FOIA also permits the township to charge processing costs including labor (exceeding 15 minutes) associated with making paper or digital copies, searching and locating requested records, time spent deleting information deemed exempt from disclosure and mailing costs, if applicable.
“The Township’s policy with respect to FOIA requests is to comply with State law in all respects and to respond to FOIA requests in a consistent, fair and evenhanded manner, regardless of who makes such a request,’’ the document states.
However, that excludes requests from “incarcerated” persons in local, state or federal correctional facilities.
FOIA requests can be made in person, by mail or FAX or through email. Forms are available in the clerk’s office.
The township will respond to requests by granting it, a written notice of denial, a partial grant, indicating that the request record is posted for free on the township website or asking for more time to comply with the request due to its nature.
Any fees associated with the request must be paid in full before the request if fulfilled. But deposits for half of the amount may be accepted on good faith for fees exceeding $50. Indigent persons and those on public assistance, with proof, will be allowed fee waivers twice per calendar year.
FOIA rules also permit in-person inspections of public records during township business hours, with limitations. Only pencils will be allowed to be used for taking notes, no ink pens.
The complete FOIA guidelines and procedures will be made available on the township’s web site at www.flintownship.org.