By Jacy Jones, Deputy City Clerk
Who built my house? I am remodeling and need a copy of the original floor plans. I just moved to Meridian; what was the average water, sewer, and garbage utility bill for my residence last year? My child is working on a school project for their government class; how do I get copies of the ordinances passed this year? All of these questions and many more can be answered through the City of Meridian’s public record request process.
The City of Meridian is a Public agency. It differs from other entities doing business in the area in that most records generated are public in nature and therefore, when requested, the City must disclose these documents to the public to be in compliance with Idaho State law. To comply with these laws and to assure citizens of Meridian that their requests are a high priority to City staff on March 2, 2010 the City of Meridian City Council adopted Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 6.17.
By law when a request is received Staff must respond within three business days. That does not always mean that the record will be supplied within those three days. While that is always our goal; occasionally in the three day period all we have learned is that we need more time to complete the request. IF that is the case we can request an additional seven business days. This means that when a request is received by the end of ten business days the requestor (you, the public) should have a response to the request.
As part of our internal SOP the City Clerk’s Office is to receive all requests and act as a point of contact between the Public and other City departments. When a request is received Clerk’s staff log that request and then distributes it to other City departments who may have the responsive document(s). The Clerk’s Office keeps the other departments updated as to the timeline of the request and when the timeline has expired. Once the document has been located it is sent back to Clerk’s staff. The information is then copied and routed to the Legal Department for approval. Once it is approved the document(s) is then released to the requestor. Having the Clerk’s staff manage requests has reduced a duplication of efforts within the City and made processing public records requests much more efficient.
Last year 249 public record requests were received and processed by City staff. This means that all 249 requestors received a response by City staff within the required timeline. By doing this we hope to continue to earn the Public’s trust and show how important transparency is to our City. Whether we have the document you are hoping to acquire or not we guarantee that you will receive exceptional customer service because while complying with Idaho State law is of upmost priority to our staff, being in line with the City of Meridian’s values and providing the best for the community we serve is what we strive for on a daily basis. If you have questions, information, or documents you would like to obtain you may contact the City Clerk’s office at 208-888-4433 or access the public records request form online from the City Clerk’s webpage or by clicking HERE.