Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

City of Center Line Summary of Freedom of Information Act Procedures & Guidelines

Pursuant to Public Act 563 of 2014, the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) was amended with an effective date of July 1, 2015. In accordance with the amendments to the FOIA, the following is the written public summary of the City of Center Line’s (the “City”) FOIA Procedures and Guidelines.

1. Submitting a FOIA Request to the City of Center Line

  • Requests to inspect or obtain copies of public records prepared, owned, used, possessed or retained by the City must be submitted in writing.
  • A request must sufficiently describe a public record so as to enable the City to find it.
  • No specific form to submit a written FOIA request is required. However, a FOIA request form (PDF) is available.
    Written requests may be made in person by delivery to City Hall or by mail addressed to City of Center Line, 7070 E Ten Mile Road, Center Line, Michigan 48015.
  • Requests may also be made by facsimile to the City at 586-755-0790 or via email to Janice Pockrandt.

Note: if you are serving a sentence of imprisonment in a local, state, or federal correctional facility you are not entitle to submit a request for public records under FOIA.

2. The City of Center Line's Response to the FOIA Request

Within five (5) business days of receipt of a FOIA request the City will issue a response. If a request is submitted by facsimile or email the request is deemed to have been received on the following business day. Email requests delivered to the FOIA Coordinator’s spam or junk-mail folder shall be deemed received one (1) day after the FOIA Coordinator becomes aware of the email request, and such dates shall be noted in any response provided.

The City will respond to your request in one of the following ways:

  • Grant the request;
  • Issue a written notice denying the request;
  • Grant the request in part and issue a written notice denying the request in part;
  • Issue a notice indicating that due to the nature of the request the City required an additional ten (10) business days to respond; or
  • Issue a written notice indicating that the public record requested is available at no charge on the City's website.

If a request is granted, or granted in part, the City will ask that payment be made for any permissible fees associated with responding to the request before the public record is made available. If the costs of processing and responding to the request are expected to exceed $50, or if you have not paid for a previously granted request the City will require a good faith deposit prior to processing the request. Under certain circumstances, the City may require payment of any and all fees in advance prior to processing the request.

3. Fee Deposit Requirements

If the City has made a good faith calculation that the total fee for processing a FOIA request will exceed $50, the City will require that you provide a deposit in the amount of 50% of the total estimated fee, a detailed itemization of which shall be provided upon requesting the deposit. The City’s request for a deposit will also include a non-binding best efforts estimate of how long it will take to process the request upon receipt by the City of the required deposit.

If the City receives a written request from an individual or entity who has not paid the City for fees charged in connection with a previously granted FOIA request, the City will require a deposit of 100% of the estimated fee prior to processing the request when all of the following conditions exist:

  • The final fee for the prior written request was not more than 105% of the estimated fee;
  • The public records made available contained the information sought in the prior written request and remain in the City's possession;
  • The public records were made available, subject to payment, within the time frame estimated by the City to provide the records;
  • 90 days have passed since the City notified the individual in writing that the records were available for pickup or mailing;
  • The individual is unable to show proof of prior payment to the City; and
  • The City has calculated a detailed itemization that is the basis for the current written request's increased fee deposit.

The City will not require the 100% estimated fee deposit if any of the following apply:

  • The persons making the request is able to show proof of prior payment in full to the City;
  • The City is subsequently paid in full for all applicable prior written requests; or
  • 365 days have passed since the person made the request for which full payment was not remitted to the City.

4. Calculation of 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 the 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 identifies the nature of the unreasonably high costs.

In accordance with FOIA, the City may charge for the following six fee components when processing a FOIA request:

Labor costs associated with searching for, locating and examining a requested public record;
Labor costs associated with a review of a record to separate and delete exempt information from non-exempt information which is disclosed;
The costs of computer discs, computer tapes or other digital or similar media when the request asks for records in non-paper physical media;
The cost of duplication or publication, not including labor, of paper copies of public records;
Labor costs associated with duplication or publication, which includes making paper copies, making digital copies, or transferring digital public records to non-paper physical media or through the Internet; and
The actual cost of mailing or sending responsive public records to a requester.

Labor Costs

  • All labor costs will be estimated and charged in 15 minute increments with all partial time increments rounded down.
  • Labor costs will be charged at the hourly wage of the lowest-paid employee capable of doing the work in the specific fee category, regardless of who actually performs work.
  • If the City does not employ a person capable of separating and deleting exempt from non-exempt information, contracted labor costs will be charged at an hourly rate not exceeding an amount equal to 6 times the state established minimum hourly wage rate.
  • Labor costs will also include a charge to cover or partially cover the cost of fringe benefits.

Non-Paper Physical Media

  • The cost for records provided on non-paper physical media, such as computer discs, computer tapes or other digital or similar media will be at the actual and most reasonably economical cost for the non-paper media.
  • This cost will only be assessed if the City has the technological capability necessary to provide the public record in the requested non-paper physical media format.

Paper Copies

  • Paper copies of public records made on standard letter (8 ½ x 11) or legal (8 ½ x 14) sized paper will not exceed $0.10 per sheet of paper. Copies for non-standard sized sheets of paper will reflect the actual cost of reproduction.
  • The City may provide records using double-sided printing, if cost-saving and available.

Mailing Costs

  • The cost to mail public records will use a reasonably economical and justified means.
  • The City may charge for the least expensive form of postal delivery confirmation.
  • No cost will be made for expedited shipping or insurance unless requested.

5. Qualifying for a Reduction of Fees

The City may waive or reduce the fee associated with a request if the City determines that a waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because the release of information can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public.

The City will waive the first $20 of the processing fee for responding to a FOIA request if an affidavit its provided stating:

  • That the requester is indigent and receiving specific public assistance; or
  • If not receiving public assistance, stating facts demonstrating an inability to pay because of indigency.

A requester is not eligible to receive the $20 waiver if:

  • He/she has previously received discounted copies of public records from the City twice during that calendar year; or
  • He/she is requesting information on behalf of other persons who are offering or providing payment to the individual to make the request.

The City will waive the fee for a nonprofit organization which meets all of the following conditions:

  • The organization is designated by the State under federal law to carry out activities under the Developmental Disabilities 
  • Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 and the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act;
  • The request is made directly on behalf of the organization or its clients;
  • The request is made for a reason wholly consistent with the provisions of federal law under Section 931 of the Mental Health Code; and
  • The request is accompanied by documentation of the organization's designation by the State.

6. Challenges or Appeals

Appeal of a Denial of a Public Record

  • Denials of all or a portion of a FOIA request may be appealed to City Council. The appeal must be filed in writing, specifically state the word “appeal,” and identify the reason or reasons for reversal of the denial.
  • Within 10 business days of receiving the appeal City Council will respond in writing by:
    *Reversing the disclosure denial;
    *Upholding the disclosure denial; or
    *Reverse the disclosure denial in part and uphold the disclosure denial in part.
  • Whether or not an appeal is submitted to City Council, a civil action may be commenced in Macomb County Circuit Court within 180 days after the City’s final determination to deny the FOIA request.

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 of the fee charged to City Council. The appeal must be in writing, specifically state the word “appeal,” and identify the basis for contesting the fee charged.

Within 10 business days after receiving the appeal, City Council will respond in writing by:

  • Waiving the fee;
  • Reducing the fee and issue a written determination indicating the specific basis supporting the remaining fee;
  • Upholding the fee and issue a written determination indicating the specific basis that supports the required fee; or
  • Issuing a notice detailing the reason or reasons for extending for not more than 10 business days the period during which City Council will respond the written appeal.

Within forty-five (45) days after receiving notice of the City Council’s determination of the processing fee appeal, you may commence a civil action in the Macomb County Circuit Court for a fee reduction.

Appeals received by City Council are not considered received until the first regularly scheduled meeting of City Council following submission of a written appeal.

This is only a summary of the City of Center Line’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines and is provided for information purposes only. A copy of the City of Center Line’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines (PDF) is available at no charge at City Hall and on the City’s website.