Freedom of Information Act Request

FOIA Request Form

Fee Schedule for Staff Time and Copies
 Description  
Charge
 A minimum charge to pay costs for responding to all FOIA requests (Paid upon receipt of records) 
 $3.00
Charge per page for hard copy of records
 $0.20 per copy
 Charge for staff time to search, retrieve, or redact records
 $20.00 per hour
 Charge for other media used to provide records
Actual cost of media to City
Deposit for anticipated or apparent staff time exceeding 5 hours
1/4 of estimated costs

At the discretion of the City Manager, any portion of the rate may be waived.

Policy Statement:
The City Council (the “Council”) of the City of Camden, South Carolina (the “City”) recognizes the findings of the General Assembly of South Carolina that it is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that citizens shall be advised of the performance of public officials and of the decisions that are reached in public activity and in the formulation of public policy.  In order to ensure that the City conducts public business in an open and public manner, it shall be the policy of the City to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), as codified at Sections 30-4-10 et seq. of the Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976, as amended, in regards to the processing of requests for access to public records.
 
Making a FOIA Request:  
All requests for public documents pursuant to FOIA, except for those described below, must be made in writing and submitted either (i) in person at the Camden City Hall, 1000 Lyttleton St., Camden, SC 29021; (ii) by mail to City of Camden, Attn: Assistant City Manager, P.O. Box 7002, Camden, SC 29021; or (iii) by electronic mail.  Ideally, requests will be made using the FOIA Request Form (the “Request Form”) provided by the City and made available to the public, a copy of which is attached hereto.  Requests made by letter or in some other written form should contain substantially the same information provided for on the Request Form.  Requests should not be submitted by fax.  In order to ensure the most accurate and prompt response, requests should be as detailed, specific, and descriptive as possible.  With the exception of the records detailed below, a minimum charge of $3.00 is applied to all FOIA requests to compensate for the cost of the staff time and materials necessary to respond to the request. 
 
Requests to inspect the following public records need not be in writing provided the requestor appears at the appropriate City office in-person and within normal City business hours:
 
1. Minutes of all public meetings of the City for the preceding (6) six months; and
2. Reports from the preceding fourteen (14) days  which disclose the nature, substance, and location of any crime or alleged crime reported as having been committed (with the exception of records regarding juveniles); and
3. Documents identifying persons confined in any jail, detention center, or prison for the preceding (3) three months (with the exception of records regarding juveniles); and
4. Documents produced by the City or its agent that were distributed to or reviewed by a member of the public body during a public meeting for the preceding (6) six months. 
 
Processing FOIA Requests:  
Where any City employee receives any written request for public records, the request should immediately be stamped with the date of receipt and delivered to the Assistant City Manager.  The Assistant City Manager should evaluate FOIA requests based upon the statutory requirements of FOIA with regards to any applicable exemptions, federal restrictions on disclosure, or limitations on the commercial use of data.  However, the presumption in evaluating FOIA requests should be in favor of disclosing the requested records.  Where an exemption to FOIA could possibly permit the City Manager to decide not to disclose the requested records, the Assistant City Manager should consult with the City Manager and City Attorney to determine if the exemption applies and whether the City should decline to disclose the records based upon the exemption. 
 
Initial Response Deadlines:
The Assistant City Manager must respond to all FOIA requests within the timeframes outlined below:
 

Document Age

Response time

Less than 24 months old

Within 10 business days

More than 24 months old

Within 20 business days

 
It shall be the policy of the City to respond to FOIA requests as quickly as possible.  Where possible, the response to the request should include the requested records.  Otherwise, the response should either inform the requestor that the requested records will be made available, along with the means of obtaining them and any additional costs that will be charged for making the records available, or it should inform the requestor that the requested records fall under an exemption to FOIA and will not be disclosed. The initial response shall constitute the final determination of the City as to whether records are available and subject in whole to an exemption under FOIA, but will not constitute a final opinion as to whether portions of the requested documents are subject to redaction under a FOIA exemption.  
 
Production Deadlines:  
For all granted requests, the City shall furnish the records within the time frames outlined below, as measured from the date of initial or response or, where applicable, the payment of a deposit.  
 

Document Age

Production time

Less than 24 months old

30 calendar days

More than 24 months old

35 calendar days

 
The response and production deadlines may be extended by written mutual consent, and the requesting party may not unreasonably withhold such consent. The City shall not create new records, nor summarize existing records.  Requested records shall be released in the format most convenient to the City.  The City may, in its discretion, create electronic records where they do not otherwise exist. 
 
Records Exempt From Disclosure:  
The City adopts as a part of this Policy any and all exemptions, restrictions or limitations contained within FOIA, as FOIA may be amended from time to time, along with any other exemptions, restrictions or limitations that may be provided for now or in the future under South Carolina or federal law. As previously stated herein, the Assistant City Manager, consulting with the City Manager and City Attorney, shall determine whether an exemption to the disclosure requirements of FOIA applies.  Where an exemption, restriction, or limitation applies, the Assistant City Manager, based upon consultation with the City Manager and City Attorney, should decide whether to deny disclosure based upon that exemption, restriction, or limitation.  Where records contain certain information exempt from disclosure but which otherwise fall outside of an exemption, restriction or limitation, the exempted information shall be redacted and requested records shall otherwise be disclosed.  The City may request for a hearing before the Circuit Court of Kershaw County to seek relief from unduly burdensome, overly broad, vague, repetitive, or otherwise improper requests, or where it receives a request but is unable to make a good faith determination as to whether the information is exempt from disclosure. 
 
Failure to Comply:  
In addition to penalties available under FOIA, willful disregard of, or violation of, this Policy by any employee or other person who is subject to it, may constitute insubordination and be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
 
Costs for Processing FOIA Requests:  
The Council of the City, pursuant to Section 30-4-30 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended, has established the fee schedule below, which has been made available as part of the City’s schedule of fees and charges published as an appendix to the City’s Code of Ordinances.  The charges set forth therein are no greater than, and in some instances may be less than, the actual cost to the City of searching for and making copies of requested public records.  In general, costs for staff time necessary to respond to a FOIA request shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest cost employee of the City who, in the opinion of the Assistant City Manager, has the training necessary to fulfill the request. Costs shall not be charged for time spent examining records to determine whether they may be disclosed.  Charges for copies of records will not exceed the standard commercial rate.  Additionally, copy charges do not apply to electronic copies; however, the City may charge a fee for cost of staff time to transfer the document to electronic format and the actual cost to the City for electronic media. Where it is anticipated that the staff time necessary to comply with a request may exceed five hours, the requestor may be required to pay a deposit of one quarter of the estimated costs of complying with the request before staff will begin searching for or making copies of the requested records. Requesting party shall pay the full amount due prior to delivery of records. 
 
Prohibition on Commercial Solicitation Use:  
Knowingly obtaining or using personal information obtained from the City for commercial solicitation is strictly prohibited.  The measure employed by the City to ensure that no record is used for commercial solicitation purposes shall be to deny requests for records under FOIA where the only reasonably perceptible use for the requested records by the requesting party is commercial solicitation.  Upon denial of a request by the City, the requesting party is to be notified that it has the burden to demonstrate a purpose for which the requested records may be used that is not commercial solicitation.  All responsive communications provided by the City shall include a Certification of FOIA Fulfillment (“Certification”), a copy of which is attached hereto. The Certification will be signed by the City staff person charged with providing requested records and will include the following statement:
 
Pursuant to § 30-2-50 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, as amended, you are prohibited from knowingly using public records obtained from the City of Camden for commercial solicitation. Violation of this law is punishable by law as a misdemeanor, resulting in up to a year in prison or a fine not to exceed $500.