Freedom of Information Act
Consistent with Public Act 563 of 2014 amending the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the following is the Written Public Summary of the City’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines relevant to the general public.
How do I submit a FOIA request to the City of Ferrysburg?
Note: If you are serving a sentence of imprisonment in a local, state or federal correctional facility you are not entitled to submit a request for a public record.
What kind of response can I expect to my request?
Within 5 business days of receipt of a FOIA request the City will issue a response. If a request is received by facsimile or e-mail the request is deemed to have been received on the following business day. The City will respond to your request in one of the following ways:
If the request is granted, or granted in part, the City will ask that payment be made for the allowable fees associated with responding to the request before the public record is made available. If the cost of processing the request is expected to exceed $50, or if you have not paid for a previously granted request, the City will require a deposit before processing the request.
What are the City’s fee deposit requirements?
If the City has made a good faith calculation that the total fee for processing the request exceeds $50, the City will require that you provide a deposit in the amount of 50% of the total estimated fee. When the City requests the deposit it will provide you a non-binding best efforts estimate of how long it will take to process the request following receipt by the City of your deposit.
If the City received a request from a person who has not paid the City for copies of public records made in fulfillment of a previously granted written request, the City will require a deposit of 100% of the estimated processing fee before it begins to search for the public record for any subsequent written request when all of the following conditions exist:
The City will not require the 100% estimated fee deposit if any of the following apply:
How does the City calculate FOIA processing fees?
A fee will not be charged for the cost of search, examination, review and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information unless failure to charge a fee would result in unreasonably high costs to the City because of the nature of the request in the particular instance, and the City specifically identifies the nature of the unreasonably high costs.
The Michigan FOIA statute permits the City to assess and collect a fee for six designated processing components. The City may charge for the following costs associated with processing a request:
Non-paper Physical Media
How do I quality for a reduction of the processing fees?
The City may waive or reduce the fee associated with a request when City determines that to do so is in the public interest because release of the information is considered as primarily benefiting the general public.
The City will waive the first $20 of the processing fee for a request if you submit an affidavit stating that you are:
You are not eligible to receive the $20 waiver if you:
An affidavit is sworn statement.
The City will waive the fee for a nonprofit organization which meets all of the following conditions:
How may I challenge the denial of a public record or an excessive fee?
Appeal of a Denial of a Public Record
If you believe that all or a portion of a public record has not been disclosed or has been improperly exempted from disclosure, you may file an appeal of the denial with the City Manager. The appeal must be in writing, specifically state the word “appeal” and identify the reason or reasons you are seeking a reversal of the denial.
Within 10 business days of receiving the appeal the City Manager will respond in writing by:
Whether or not you submitted an appeal of a denial to the City Manager, you may file a civil action in Ottawa County Circuit Court within 180 days after the City’s final determination to deny your request. Should you prevail in the civil action the court will award you reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements. If the court determines that the City acted arbitrarily and capriciously in refusing to disclose or provide a public record, the court shall award you damages in the amount of $1,000.
Appeal of an Excessive FOIA Processing Fee
If you believe that the fee charged by the City to process your FOIA request exceeds the amount permitted by state law, you must first submit a written appeal for a fee reduction to the City Manager. The appeal must be in writing, specifically state the word “appeal” and identify how the required fee exceeds the amount permitted.
Within 10 business days after receiving the appeal, the City Manager will respond in writing by:
Within 45 days after receiving notice of the City Manager’s determination of the processing fee appeal, you may commence a civil action in Ottawa County Circuit Court for a fee reduction. If you prevail in the civil action by receiving a reduction of 50% or more of the total fee, the court may award all or appropriate amount of reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements. If the court determines that the City acted arbitrarily and capriciously by charging an excessive fee, court may also award you punitive damages in the amount of $500.
Need more details or information?
This is only a summary of the City of Ferrysburg’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines. For more details and information, copies of the City of Ferrysburg’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines are available at no charge at any City office.
View Full Summary of Ferrysburg’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines