RIGHT TO KNOW
TOWNSHIP OF ROBESON, BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA POLICY AND REGULATIONS FOR REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS UNDER THE RIGHT TO KNOW LAW
Introduction. The Right to Know Law, 65 P.S. §§ 67.101-67.3104, requires that every political subdivision establish a written policy for handling requests for access to public records. This policy provides the regulations and procedure for requests for access to public records maintained by the Township of Robeson, Berks County, Pennsylvania (“Township”).
Requests for Public Records.
1. All requests shall be made in writing on the form provided by the Township or the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records for such purpose. The form shall be made available at the Township building during the Township’s regular business hours. The request form may be submitted in person, by mail or by fax. The request shall be addressed to: Open Records Officer Township of Robeson 8 Boonetown Road Birdsboro, PA 19508 There is no limit on the number of Public Records requested.
2. Where applicable, the Requestor will be required to pay a fee for copying, postage, and/or certification. The list of fees is available at the Township building. The fees may be modified as necessary from time to time by the Board of Supervisors of Robeson Township. Fees may be waived if the Township deems it in the public interest to waive any applicable fees. Prepayment of fees estimated to be in excess of One-Hundred Dollars ($100.00) is required.
3. Upon receipt of a request during normal business hours, the Township must respond to the request within 5 business days. Failure of the Township to respond within 5 days shall be deemed a denial of the request and the Requestor may then file a letter of appeal as described herein.
4. The Township may extend the response time to a request beyond 5 days for the following reasons: (a) The request requires redaction of a Public Record; (b) The request requires retrieval of records stored offsite; 2 (c) Bona fide and specific staffing limitations inhibit a timely response; (d) Legal review is needed to determine if the request involves a Public Record; (e) The Requestor has not complied with this Policy; (f) The Requestor fails or refuses to pay the applicable fees. (g) The extent or nature of the request precludes a response within the required time period. In the event an extension is required, the Township must provide a written explanation to the Requestor of the reason(s) for the extension of up to 30 days, a reasonable date that a response is expected to be provided, and an estimate of the fees owed. Additional time extensions may be made with the consent of the requester.
5. Public Records are made available for review at Township building during the Township’s regular business hours. A Public Record will be provided to a Requestor in the form requested - paper or electronic - if it exists in both forms; otherwise, it will be provided in the form in which it exists. The Requestor shall not be permitted to review documents in private, but only in the presence of a Township employee. If a Public Record is available only by electronic means, the Township shall provide access to inspect such Public Record at the Township building. The Requestor will be given a reasonable time, during the Township’s regular business hours, to review the Public Records requested, given any limitations in Township staffing and time for copying any such Records. If the Requestor cannot complete the review of the requested Public Records within the allotted time, the review may continue on the same basis on another day during the Township’s regular business hours.
6. Copies of Public Records requested will be made available upon request and upon payment of the applicable copying fee. Any Public Record maintained by the Township only in electronic form will be made available in paper upon request and for the applicable copying fee.
Denial of a Request for Public Records.
1. If the Township denies a written request for access to a Public Record, in whole or in part, the Township shall issue a written response to the Requestor.
2. The Township’s written denial shall include the following: (a) A description of the Record requested.
3 (b) The specific reasons for the denial, including a citation of supporting legal authority. (c) The typed or printed name, title, Township address, Township telephone number and signature of the Township Open Records Officer, on whose authority the denial is issued. (d) The date of the response. (e) A copy of the appeal procedure included in this Policy.
Appeal Procedure for Denial of a Request for Access to a Public Record
1. If a written request for access is denied or deemed denied, the Requestor may file a letter of appeal with the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records for access to the requested Record within 15 days of the mailing date of the Township Open Records Officer’s response or within 15 days of a deemed denial.
2. The letter of appeal shall state the reasons the Requestor believes that the record is a Public Record, and shall address the reasons, if any, by which the Township has delayed or denied the request.
3. Unless the Requestor agrees otherwise, the designated appeals officer at the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records shall make a final determination regarding the Requestor’s appeal within 30 days of the date of the Requestor’s letter of appeal.
4. The appeals officer may conduct a hearing prior to issuing a final determination regarding Requestor’s appeal. 5. If the appeals officer fails to issue a final determination within 30 days, the appeal is deemed denied. 6. In the event that the appeals officer makes a final determination upholding the denial of access to Public Records, the Requestor may file a petition for review with the Berks County Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of the date of mailing of the denial by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records appeals officer.
FEE SCHEDULE FOR REQUESTS FOR PUBLIC RECORDS Type of Fee Fee Postage Actual cost of mailing FAX Actual cost Copies $0.25/page Certification $1.00/each document Specialized Documents Actual cost Electronic Records N/A Prepayment will be required if the fees are expected to exceed $100.00