[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of New Castle as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Administrator — See Ch. 5.
[Adopted 7-17-2012 by Res. No. 2012-21]
Editor's Note: This resolution also provided for the repeal of former Ch. A242, Records, Public Access to, adopted 6-26-1990 by Res. No. 90-11, as amended.
The purpose of this policy is to set forth the rules and procedures for responding to requests from the public for public records under Title 29, Chapter 100, of the Delaware Code, the Freedom of Information Act.
The following words and terms, when used in this policy, shall have the following meanings:
- The City of New Castle, Delaware.
- The Freedom of Information Act as established pursuant to Title 29, Chapter 100, of the Delaware Code.
- FOIA REQUEST FORM
- A form provided by the City upon which requests for public records may be made.
- FOIA REQUEST or REQUEST
- A request to inspect or copy public records pursuant to Chapter 29, Section 10003, of the Delaware Code and in accordance with the policy hereunder.
- PUBLIC RECORD
- Shall have the meaning set forth in 29 Del.C. § 10002.
- REQUESTING PARTY
- The party filing a FOIA request.
- STAFF TIME
- Time spent in fulfilling a FOIA request by any City elected official, employee and other officials associated with the City (i.e., the City Solicitor, City Engineer, City Planner, etc.).
Form of request.
All FOIA requests shall be made in writing to the City in person, by e-mail, by fax, or online in accordance with the provisions hereunder. FOIA requests may be submitted using the FOIA request form provided by the City; however, any FOIA request that otherwise conforms with the policy hereunder shall not be denied solely because the request is not on the City-provided form.
All requests shall adequately describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable the City to locate such records with reasonable effort. The requesting party shall be as specific as possible when requesting records. To assist the City in locating the requested records, the City may request that the requesting party provide additional information known to the requesting party, such as the types of records, dates, parties to correspondence, and subject matter of the requested records.
Method of filing request. FOIA requests may be made by mail or in person to the City: 220 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE, 19720, or by e-mail through the City website: NewCastleCity.Delaware.gov.
City response to requests.
The City shall respond to a FOIA request as soon as possible, but in any event within 15 business days after the receipt thereof, either by providing access to the requested records; denying access to the records or parts of them; or by advising that additional time is needed because the request is for voluminous records, requires legal advice, or a record is in storage or archived. If access cannot be provided within 15 business days, the City shall cite one of the reasons hereunder why more time is needed and provide a good-faith estimate of how much additional time is required to fulfill the request.
If the City denies a request in whole or in part, the City's response shall indicate the reasons for the denial. The City shall not be required to provide an index, or any other compilation, as to each record or part of a record denied.
Review by City. Prior to disclosure, records may be reviewed by the City to ensure that those records or portions of records deemed nonpublic may be removed pursuant to 29 Del. C. § 10002(g) or any other applicable provision of law.
Hours of review. The City shall provide reasonable access for reviewing public records, during regular business hours. This shall include that, for each request, the City shall designate an employee to monitor a requestor reviewing records. When records are available, the requestor shall be notified and coordinate with the schedule of the employee/monitor when review may take place at the City offices.
Photocopying fees. In instances in which paper records are provided to the requesting party, photocopying fees shall be as follows:
The charge for copying standard-sized, black-and-white public records for copies shall be $0.50 per sheet (i.e., $0.50 for a single-sided sheet, $1.00 for a double-sided sheet). This charge applies to copies on the following standard paper sizes: 8.5" x 11"; 8.5" x 14"; and 11" x 17."
Oversized copies/printouts: The charge for copying oversized public records shall be as follows:
Color copies/printouts. An additional charge of $1.00 per sheet will be assessed for all color copies or printouts for standard-sized copies (8.5" x 11"; 8.5" x 14"; and 11" x 17") and $1.50 per sheet for larger copies.
Administrative fees shall be levied for requests requiring more than 1/2 hour of staff time to process. Charges for administrative fees may include staff time associated with processing FOIA requests, including, without limitation:
Prior to fulfilling any request that would require a requesting party to incur administrative fees, the City shall provide a written cost estimate of such fees to the requesting party, listing all charges expected to be incurred in retrieving such records. Requesting parties shall be informed of the possibility that a search may result in no records being found; however, this does not absolve the requesting party from paying applicable administrative fees for the records search. Upon receipt of the estimate, the requesting party may decide whether to proceed with, cancel or modify the request and shall sign a confirmation accepting financial responsibility under this policy.
Administrative fees will be billed to the requesting party per quarter hour. Administrative fees will be in addition to any other charges incurred under this § A242-4, including copying fees.
When multiple FOIA requests are submitted by or on behalf of a requesting party in an effort to avoid incurring administrative charges, the City may, in its discretion, aggregate staff time for all such requests when computing fees hereunder.
Electronically generated records. Charges for copying records maintained in an electronic format will be calculated by the material costs involved in generating the copies (including but not limited to DVD, CD, or other electronic storage costs) and administrative costs.
To the extent any provision in this policy conflicts with any other law or regulation, such law or regulation shall control, and the conflicting provision herein is expressly superseded.