Florida Law defines a public record as any material prepared in connection with the official business of a government agency that is intended to perpetuate, communicate or formalize knowledge. Public records include documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, made or received in connection with the transaction of official business of a government agency. Florida Law requires government agencies to provide public records in the format requested if the records already exist in that format. If not, a government agency is not required to convert public records to another format to fulfill a public records request.
Public records may be inspected and examined by any person desiring to do so at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions and under the supervision of the custodian of the record. Custodians of public records are not required to compile or create a new record, only to make the requested existing records available. In addition, Florida Law does not require the custodian of the record to provide explanations of information contained within public records.
The City of St. Petersburg makes a number of records available on its web site. Such records include City Council Agendas, consultant studies, reports, documents and presentations.
Requests to view public records do not have to be made in writing and may be made by telephone. Even though a government agency cannot require a person to put a records request in writing, putting the records request in writing will assist staff in clarifying the exact scope of the request. A person may inspect records or obtain copies at a fee as provided in Florida Law. Any request made to a city department for a public record that is considered readily available will be provided by the department. A readily available public record is a record that is easily accessible and retrievable within the department and does not require additional review to determine whether it contains exempt information. All other public record requests should be directed to the City Clerk's office.
Florida law provides for the following fees for the provision of public records. If no fee is prescribed by law, the custodian of the public record may charge the actual cost of duplication of the record.
- Up to 15 cents per one-sided copy for duplicated copies of not more than 14 inches by 8 1/2 inches;
- No more than an additional 5 cents for each two-sided copy;
- CD or DVD is $3.00 each;
- For all other copies, the actual cost of duplication of the public record;
- The charge for copies of county maps or aerial photographs supplied by county constitutional officers may also include a reasonable charge for the labor and overhead associated with their duplication;
- An agency may charge up to $1 per copy for a certified copy of a public record;
- If the nature or volume of public records requested to be inspected or copied pursuant to this subsection is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency involved, or both, the agency may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge (33% increase beyond direct salary cost to reflect related benefits costs), which shall be reasonable and shall be based on the cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or the labor cost of the personnel providing the service that is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency for the clerical and supervisory assistance required, or both. The first 30 minutes to safeguard the records during inspection is provided at no cost with any additional time provided per the special service charge;
- If materials are to be mailed, the actual cost of postage may be added to other charges indicated in the preceding paragraphs.
The Public Records Act can be found in Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes at the following link:http://www.leg.state.fl.us/StatutesE-mail a public records request to Chandrahasa.Srinivasa@stpete.org