Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Requests - Fees And Rates For Public Records
Williamsburg County recognizes the right of any person, under provision of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, as amended, to inspect or receive copies of any public record. Our FOIA procedures are designed to promote open government, citizen involvement and organizational accountability.
Any member of the public can review or obtain Williamsburg County records that are determined to be public under the provisions of the FOIA. In order to maintain the effective functioning of a county office or department and for security reasons, certain conditions for reviewing or obtaining copies of records may apply.
Fees include both the cost of the reproduction and personnel costs for research and retrieval. Any individual making a FOIA request will adhere to the following fee schedule:
- No charge for a single request for compilation and/or reproduction of up to 10 pages of readily available information
- A charge of 25 cents (25¢) per page will be assessed for a single request of 11 or more pages.
- Costs of material and personnel time will be assessed for the compilation and/or reproduction of any material that is deemed to require extensive staff time to compile.
- Mailing costs will be assessed as charged by the U.S. Postal Service. Non-standard sizes will be billed at the actual cost to Williamsburg County Government.
- A fee deposit not exceeding 25% of the total reasonable anticipated cost is or may be required prior to searching for and/or copying requested records.
- Fees will not exceed the prorated annual salary of the lowest paid employee, who had the necessary skills and training to search, retrieve, or redact the records.
- Payment in full is due prior to the release of any records. The County Supervisor reserves the right to waive fees.
Requesting Public Records
Please be specific in your written request. If you are uncertain about which records contain the information you desire, provide a description of the type of information you are searching for and every attempt will be made to locate the relevant records. Please note that certain records are exempt from disclosure under FOIA or other statutes and or not available for public inspection (S.C. Code Section 30-40-4) is not required to create a public record when one does not exist.
Ways To Receive Public Records:
- Electronic transmission
If an electronic version must be created, the public body will be charged for the time taken to reproduce the documents. If an electronic version is already created, it will be free of charge.
Timelines For Responding To Requests
- Within 10 business days of receipt of a specific written request from any individual, a written response as to whether or not the records will be made available.
- For records requested that are more than 24 months old, a written response to the person making the request will be provided within 20 business days.
- 30 calendar days (35 for records more than 24 months old) from the initial notification or receipt of required fee, documents must be produced.
- Timelines may be extended by written, mutual agreement
- PLEASE NOTE, THAT SECTION 30-2-50 OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA CODE OF LAWS PROHIBITS THE PROCUREMENT OR USE OF PUBLIC RECORDS FOR COMMERCIAL SOLICITATION. A PERSON KNOWINGLY VIOLATING THE PROVISION IS GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR AND, UPON CONVICTION, MUST BE FINED AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS OR IMPRISIONED FOR A TERM NOT TO EXCEED ONE YEAR OR BOTH.
- Reasonable measures must be taken to ensure that no private person or private entity, obtains or distributes personal information acquired through public records, for commercial solicitations.
Requests for official public records made under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can be submitted by sending a written request to: Tammi Epps-McClary, Clerk to Council, Public Service Administration Building, Post Office Box 330, Kingstree SC 29556 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To assist you in filing a request, you may choose to print the FOIA REQUST FORM that can be filled out and mailed to the address listed above or you can choose to send your request form via email.
Reviewing Public Records In Person
If you ask to review original documents, we may request that you follow procedures to protect the integrity of public records:
- You may be supervised by a Williamsburg County Employee within the area where the records are stored and/or maintained.
- You may need to review records in a designated area or schedule a particular time of day so that day-to-day activities of that specific office or department are not disrupted.
Civil action may now be filed to seek relief:
- When FOIA requests are unduly burdensome, overly broad, vague, repetitive, or improper
- When a person or entity with a specific interest in records or information wants to access information contained in records which are exempt from disclosure
- To determine whether information is exempt from disclosure