HOW DO I SUBMIT A FOIA REQUEST?
Requests for public documents may be submitted by:
- Filling out the FOIA Request Form available on the Kalamazoo County Website or
- Sending a request in writing via U.S. Mail or e-mail to a County department, or
- Filling out a FOIA Request Form in person at any County office or department.
Once your FOIA request is received, the County will determine whether public documents which are responsive to the request exist.
WHEN WILL I RECEIVE A RESPONSE?
You will receive a response to your request within 5 business days.
WHAT WILL THE COST BE?
If the requested documents are available on the County website, a link will be provided to you free of charge.
If the responsive documents are less than 10 double sided pages or take less than 20 minutes to prepare, the documents will be provided free of charge to your attention.
If the requested documents are more than 10 double sided pages or take more than 20 minutes to prepare, the County will charge for the response. The charges will include copy costs, copy labor costs, retrieval costs, redaction and/or separation costs and mailing costs.
All labor will be charged at the hourly wage of the lowest paid employee who is able to prepare the response plus fringe benefits up to 50% of their wage. The labor will be charged in 20 minute increments, which will be rounded down.
A detailed itemized bill will be provided to your attention. Upon payment of the itemized bill, a copy of the FOIA response will be provided to you.
Reduced fees for Indigence and qualifying nonprofit organizations will be provided as required by law.
DOES MY REQUEST REQUIRE A DEPOSIT?
If the estimated cost of a response exceeds $50.00, a 50% deposit is required prior to a response being prepared.
You will receive a cost estimate prepared by the County in response to your request.
If the County receives a request from an individual that has not paid for a previously granted request, the County will require a 100% deposit as provided by law.
WHAT WILL THE RESPONSE CONTAIN?
If no responsive public documents exist, the County will provide an affidavit of non-existence.
The response will contain a complete copy of all public records that are responsive to the request.
Non-public records will be removed from all responses.
Documents will be redacted to remove personal information including home addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and social security numbers.
Other items will be redacted from responses as provided by law.
FOIA responses that are redacted or separated will include a detailed explanation of the reasons for the redaction and/or separation with the response.
CAN I APPEAL THE RESPONSE?
If you receive an affidavit of non-existence, or redacted records in response to your request, you may file an appeal by sending a letter entitled "Appeal" to the head of the public body at the address provided in the response.
You also have the right to file an action in the Circuit Court of Kalamazoo County to compel disclosure without first filing an appeal with the public body. You must file the action in the Circuit Court within 180 days of the date of the response.
If the FOIA fee exceeds the amount permitted by law or the County's procedures, you may file an appeal of fees with the head of the public body. Within 10 days of receipt of a notice of appeal of fees, the head of the public body will uphold the fee, reduce the fee or waive the fee. If the head of the public body fails to respond to the appeal or issues a response to the appeal, an action may be filed in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court against the public body for a fee reduction. This action must be filed within 45 days of receiving the determination of the appeal.