Open Records Policy

I. PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to assure compliance with PA Act 3 of 2008, the Right-to-Know Law.

II. PUBLIC RECORD
Records are broadly defined under the Right-to-Know Law.  The term includes a document, paper, letter, map, book, tape, photograph, film or sound recording, information stored or maintained electronically, and a data-processed or image-processed document.  Any record in the possession of the Township shall be presumed to be a public record, except in the following circumstances:

  • The record is exempt under the Right-to-Know Law;
  • The record is protected by the attorney-work product doctrine, the attorney-client privilege or other privilege recognized by a court interpreting the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; or
  • The record is exempt from disclosure under any other federal or state law or regulation, or judicial order or decree.

III. DEFINITIONS

Page - One side of an 8 1/2" x 11" page.

Item - A separate public record particular in an enumeration or account (i.e., minutes of a meeting).

Designated Township Employee - A person in the employ of the Township who has been appointed by the Township Manager to retrieve a public record or act as a witness during the reading or handling of a public record by any person or persons.

Open Records Officer - The Township Manager of Lower Paxton Township or his designee.

IV. PROCEDURES

  1. To file a written request for a public record, a Right-to-Know form is available at the Municipal Center and on this web site.
    Requests for records may be made verbally.  If requesters wish to pursue the relief and remedies provided in the Right-to-Know Law, then requests for records must be in writing.
     
  2. Public records shall be obtained and or viewed on Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  All Right-to-Know requests shall be submitted to the Township Manager in person or by mail, facsimile, or e-mail at:
  • Township Municipal Center, 425 Prince Street, Harrisburg, PA 17109
  • (717) 724-8311 (fax)

  1. Right-to-Know requests must identify or describe the record with sufficient specificity to enable the Township to determine what is being requested.
     
  2. The Township Manager shall make a good faith effort to provide public records as promptly as possible.  The Manager shall review all written requests for public records to determine if the records requested are public as defined by law.  No later than five (5) business days after receiving a written request for public records, the Township Manager shall respond in a manner consistent with Act 3 of 2008.
     
  3. A public record shall be provided in the medium requested, if it exists in that medium.  Otherwise, it shall be provided in the medium in which it exists.  The Township is not required to create a record that does not exist or compile, maintain, format or organize a record in a manner different from its existing medium.

V. RESPONSIBILITIES
It is the Township's responsibility to assure that it meets the requirement of the Right-to-Know Law, Act 3 of 2008.  The Township shall facilitate a reasonable response to a request for public records.  The Township shall make a good faith effort to provide public records as promptly as possible.

The Township Manager shall act as the Open Records Officer and take all steps necessary to ensure compliance with PA Act 3 of 2008.

The Township Manager may designate certain employees to retrieve, handle, copy, and/or witness the viewing of public records.

Designated employees shall cooperate fully with those requesting public records and shall take reasonable measures to protect public records from the theft, alteration, or destruction.

VI. APPEALS
If a request for a public record made per this policy is denied or deemed denied, the requester may file an appeal with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of Open Records.  If a request for a criminal investigative record is denied or deemed denied, then an appeal may be filed with the Office of the District Attorney of Dauphin County.

An appeal must be filed within fifteen (15) business days of the mailing date of the Township’s denial or within fifteen (15) business days of the deemed denial.  Appeallants shall state grounds on which they assert that an item is a public record and address any grounds stated by the Township for denying their request.

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has established a website with information relating to the Right-to-Know Law, including information on fees, advisory opinions and decisions, plus the names and addresses of all Open Records Officers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   Information on the PA Office of Open Records is available at http://openrecords.state.pa.us.

The Dauphin County District Attorney may be contacted at telephone number (717) 780-6767.  Appeals may be submitted to Assistant District Attorney Francis Chardo.

VII. FEES
The fees for the production of municipal public records are listed below.  The Township may require requesters to prepay an estimate of the fees authorized by law if the fees are expected to exceed $100.00.  In instances where this policy is silent as to the fees to be charged for the production of public records, then the policies and fees established by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records shall apply.

Photocopy/Duplication - $.25 single side on 8.5” x 11” photocopy paper.

Certification of Record - $1.00 per record, not including notary fees, if applicable.

Specialized Documents - blue prints, color copies, and non-standard sized documents - actual cost of reproduction.

Facsimile/Microfiche/Other Media - actual cost of reproduction.

Conversion to Paper - The cost to convert an electronic record to paper shall be the lesser of the fee for duplication on paper or the fee for duplication in the original media, unless the requester specifically requests that the record be produced in the more expensive media.

Postage Fees - actual cost.

Frequently Called Numbers

Main Switchboard
717-657-5600
Police Administration
717-657-5656
Public Works Department
717-657-5615
Sewer Department
717-657-5617
Parks and Recreation
717-657-5635
Supervisor's Voice-Mail
717-724-8327

Office Hours

Municipal Center (Administration, Community Development, & Sewer)
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Police Department Records Office
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Public Works Department
6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Sanitary Sewer Operations
6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Friendship Center and the Parks and Recreation Department
Monday to Thursday -  5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday - 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday - 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday - 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.