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Open Records

In the spirit of transparency we make all our documents and records open to our customers and the public.

BCWSA Open Records Compliance

openrecordsicon“Ensuring open and honest government is a bedrock principle of democracy. It can only be attained through the unfettered exchange of information between citizens and their government. A citizen’s right-to-know, sometimes known as freedom of information, fosters accountability, prevents abuses of power and promotes trust in government. Pennsylvania has codified this important right to access government records in Act 3 of 2008, called the Right-to-Know law.”
Pennsylvania Office of Open Records

Please find included below for your convenience a link to a PDF copy of the Right-to-Know Uniform Request Form from the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records.

Standard Right-to-Know Request Form

Please print out and return the completed form either by fax, email, mail or in person to the following address:

BCWSA
Attention: Open Records Officer
1275 Almshouse Road
Warrington, PA 18976
Fax: 267-200-0295

Email BCWSA Open Records Officer

If you have any questions or need more information please contact the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records at (717) 346-9903 or openrecords@state.pa.us.

Office of Open Records Fee Structure

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records website reports the following fee structure effective January 1, 2009 with a review of the fee structure in June 2009 (updated: 2008-12-30).

Fee Structure

Section 1307 of the Right-To-Know law requires the Office of Open Records to establish a fee structure for Commonwealth Agencies and Local Agencies. To promote uniformity among all agencies, the Office of Open Records encourages Judicial and Legislative agencies, which can set their own fees, to adopt the following fee structure. All agencies are advised that duplication fees can be waived.

The Office of Open Records establishes the following fee structure in accordance with the law. The Law requires that the Office of Open Records review the fee structure biannually. The Office will review the fee structure in June of 2009. Any updates will be placed on our website by June 30, 2009.

Record Type Fee

Copies: (A “photocopy” is either a single-sided copy or one side of a double-sided black-and-white copy of a standard 8.5” x 11” page) Between .10 per page to a maximum .25 per page.

Certification of a Record: An agency may impose reasonable fees for official certification of copies if the certification is at the behest of the requester and for the purpose of legally verifying the public record. The Office of Open Records recommends no more than $5 per record to certify a public record. Please note that certification fees do not include notarization fees.

Specialized documents:
(For example, but not limited to, blue prints, color copies, non-standard sized documents) Actual Cost

Facsimile/Microfiche/Other Media: Actual Cost

Redaction Fee: No Redaction Fee May be Imposed

Conversion to Paper: If a record is only maintained electronically or in other non-paper media, duplication fees shall be limited to the lesser of the fee for duplication on paper or the fee for duplication in the original media unless the requester specifically requests for the record to be duplicated in the more expensive medium. (Sec. 1307(e)).

Postage Fees: Fees for Postage May Not Exceed the Actual Cost of Mailing

Please Also Be Advised:

Statutory Fees: If a separate statute authorizes an agency to charge a set amount for a certain type of record, the agency may charge no more than that statutory amount. For example, a Recorder of Deeds may charge a copy fee of 50 cents per uncertified page and $1.50 per certified page under 42 P.S. § 21051. Police departments have the authority to charge up to $15 per report for providing a copy of a vehicle accident report. 75 Pa.C.S. §3751 (b)(2). Philadelphia police may charge up to $25 per copy. Id . at (b)(3). State police are authorized to charge “$5 for each copy of the Pennsylvania State Police full report of investigation.” 75 Pa.C.S. §1956(b).

Inspection of Redacted Records: If a requester wishes to inspect rather than receive a copy of a record and the record contains both public and non-public information, the agency shall redact the non-public information. An agency may not charge the requester for the redaction. However, the Agency may charge for the copies it must make of the redacted material in order for the requester to view the public record. The fee structure outlined above will apply. If, after inspecting the records, the requester chooses to obtain the copies, no additional fee may be charged.

Enhanced Electronic Access: If an agency offers enhanced electronic access to records in addition to making the records accessible for inspection and duplication by a requester, the agency may establish user fees specifically for the provision of the enhanced electronic access, but only to the extent that the enhanced electronic access is in addition to making the records accessible for inspection and duplication by a requester as required by this Act. The user fees for enhanced electronic access may be a flat rate, a subscription fee for a period of time, a per-transaction fee, a fee based on the cumulative time of system access or any other reasonable method and any combination thereof. The user fees for enhanced electronic access must be reasonable, must be pre-approved by the Office of Open Records and shall not be established with the intent or effect of excluding persons from access to records or duplicates thereof or of creating profit for the agency.

Please submit any request to the

Office of Open Records
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Fee Limitations: Except as otherwise provided by statute, the law states that no other fees may be imposed unless the agency necessarily incurs costs for complying with the request, and such fees must be reasonable. No fee may be imposed for an agency’s review of a record to determine whether the record is a public record, legislative record or financial record subject to access in accordance with this Act. No fee may be charged for searching for or retrieval of documents. An agency may not charge staff time or salary for complying with a RTK request.

Prepayment: Prior to granting a request for access in accordance with this Act, an agency may require a requester to prepay an estimate of the fees authorized under this section if the fees required to fulfill the request are expected to exceed $100.

Once the request is fulfilled and prepared for release, the Office of Open Records recommends that the agency obtain the cost of the records prior to releasing the records. This recommendation is designed to avoid situations in which the agency provides the records and the requester fails to submit payment.

The content of this website is for general information purposes only. The Authority tries to provide content that is true and accurate as of the date of writing; however, the Authority gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of any of the contents. The originals of any documents referenced in this website shall take precedence in the event a conflict exists between information contained on this website and the information on original documents. BCWSA assumes no responsibility for the information contained in this website and disclaims all liability with respect to such information.

 

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