Freedom of Information Act Request

FOIA Request Form

Fee Schedule for Staff Time and Copies
 A minimum charge shall be paid for all requests (except certain walk-in requests)
 Requestors shall pay for copies exceeding fifteen (15) pages
 $0.20 per copy
 Requestors shall pay for staff time at a gross hourly rate
 $20.00 per hour, per employee
 Deposit for anticipated or apparent staff search time exceeding five (5) hours
1/2 of estimated costs 
Policy Statement:

It shall be the policy of the City of Camden, South Carolina (the “City”) to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), as codified at §§ 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. This Policy is applicable to all departments under the supervision of the City Manager, and to any board or commission whose members are appointed by the City Council of the City of Camden, the governing body of the City (the “Council”).

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: in person at the Camden City Hall, 1000 Lyttleton Street, Camden, SC 29020; or by mail to City of Camden, Attn: Assistant City Manager, P.O. Box 7002, Camden, SC 29021. Ideally, requests shall be made using the Freedom of Information Act 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 shall contain substantially the same information provided for on the Request Form. Requests shall not be submitted by fax or email and any requests received in either format shall not be accepted. 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 the City for the cost of the staff time and materials necessary to respond to the request. This minimum charge must be submitted along with all FOIA requests. 

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; 
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).

Processing FOIA Requests:

The Assistant City Manager is designated as the staff member to be responsible for and familiar with any FOIA request. Where any City employee receives any written request for public records, the request should be stamped with the date of receipt and immediately delivered to the Assistant City Manager. Routine FOIA requests may be handled directly by the Assistant City Manager. The Assistant City Manager is authorized to and shall consult with the City Attorney on non-routine FOIA requests and on any questions of law involving FOIA. Where an exemption, restriction or limitation to FOIA possibly exists, the Assistant City Manager should consult with the City Manager and City Attorney to determine if an exemption, restriction or limitation applies and whether the City should decline to disclose the records based upon the exemption, restriction or limitation. However, the presumption in evaluating FOIA requests should be in favor of disclosing the requested records. 

As required by FOIA, the Assistant City Manager must respond to all FOIA requests within 15 days of receipt of the request. 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. Requested records shall be released in the format most convenient to the City.

Records Exempt From Disclosure:

The City adopts as a part of this Policy any and all exemptions, restrictions or limitations contained within FOIA, as 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 shall consult with the City Manager and the City Attorney to determine whether an exemption, restriction or limitation to the disclosure requirements of FOIA applies. Where an exemption, restriction or limitation applies, the City Manager, based upon consultation with the City Attorney and Assistant City Manager, should decide whether to deny disclosure based upon the application of the available 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. 

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, pursuant to Section 30-4-30 of FOIA, has established the fee schedule below in order to compensate the City for the actual cost of searching for and making copies of requested public records. Where it is anticipated that the staff time necessary to comply with a request may exceed (5) five hours, the requestor may be required to pay a deposit of one half the estimated costs of complying with the request before staff will begin searching for or making copies of the requested records. Costs shall not be charged for time spent examining records to determine whether they may be disclosed.