On March 24, 2020, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-28 waiving and suspending certain provisions of RCW 42.56, also known as the Washington Public Records Act (PRA). In furtherance of the Governor’s Proclamation and to reduce the person-to-person spread of COVID-19, the City of Mountlake Terrace provides notice to members of the public that the following changes are in effect from March 26, 2020 through April 23, 2020, unless extended beyond that date:
- The City will not conduct PRA business in person with requestors at any City office or facility. PRA business includes, but is not limited to: submitting public records requests, physically inspecting public records or agency PRA procedures, receiving copies of public records, receiving installments of public records, and submitting payments for public records requests.
- Due to the fluid nature of COVID-19, the City may require longer than five business days to respond to a public records request. The PRA five business days response time is currently suspended pursuant to Proclamation 20-28. However, the City shall respond either within five business days or as soon thereafter as is practical under the circumstances.
- Requestors may still submit public records request by email, mail, or by phone directly to the City’s Public Records Officers as provided on this page. Requests will still be processed in accordance with the Public Records Act, with records sent to requestors by mail or by electronic means. Payments for public records requests may be submitted by mail.
Public Records Requests
In accordance with RCW 42.56, also known as the Public Records Act, all public records maintained by the City of Mountlake Terrace are available for public inspection and copying unless they are specifically exempt or prohibited from disclosure by applicable state and/or federal laws.
The City’s Public Records Policy, available below, provides the rules and regulations by which the City shall respond to all public records requests. This policy should be reviewed by all requestors. If you have any questions regarding this policy, or other matters related to records or filing a request, please contact the appropriate Public Records Officer who will assist you.
To ensure that the City has received fair notice that a request is being made for public records, public records requests must be submitted in accordance with the City of Mountlake Terrace Public Records Policy. Public records requests must be sent by mail, email, or submitted in person directly to a Public Records Officer, at the mailing address, email address, or physical location as identified on this page, or via verbal communication by phone or in person directly to a Public Records Officer, at the phone number or physical location as identified on this page. Police records requests should be submitted to the Police Public Records Officer, all other records requests should be submitted to the City Public Records Officer.
The public records request form is provided below for your convenience, please submit the form via email or mail to the appropriate Public Records Officer as listed on this website and on the form.
All requests must be made for an identifiable record or class of records. The City is not required to create a new record to comply with the Public Records Act. The City is not obligated to respond to general inquiries or information requests. Please make your request as clear and specific as possible, including the title and date of the record(s), and when applicable, a site address, to avoid delays in locating records. If you have any questions regarding a request for records, please contact the appropriate Public Records Officer, who will assist you.
Identifiable records are those existing at the time of the request and which City staff can reasonably locate. Requestors are not allowed to make future, standing, or ongoing requests for records not in existence.
Processing Your Request
Within five business days of receipt of the request (calculations regarding the required response do not include the following days: the day the City receives the request, Saturdays, Sundays, and any holiday where City offices are closed; If a request is received after business hours, it shall be considered received on the next business day; If a request is received before business hours, it shall be considered received on the business day it is received), a Public Records Officer will do one or more of the following:
- Make the records available for inspection or copying including:
A. If copies are available on the City website, provide an internet address and link on the website to specific records requested.
B. If copies are requested and payment of a deposit for the copies, if any, is made or other terms of payment are agreed upon, send the copies to the requestor.
- Acknowledge receipt of the request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records or an installment of records will be available, also known as a “five day letter” (a Public Records Officer may revise the estimate of when records will be available, if necessary).
- Acknowledge receipt of the request and ask the requestor to provide clarification for a request that is unclear, and provide, to the greatest extent possible, a reasonable estimate of time the City will require to respond to the request if it is not clarified (a Public Records Officer may revise the estimate of when records will be available, if necessary). If the requestor fails to respond to a request for clarification and the entire request is unclear, the City may not respond to it. The City, however, shall respond to those portions of a request that are clear.
- Deny the request. Denials of requests will be accompanied by a written statement of the specific reasons therefor.
Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part. If the City believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, Public Records Officers will state the specific exemption and provide a brief written explanation of why the record or a portion of the record is being withheld. If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, but the remainder is not exempt, Public Records Officers will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and indicate to the requestor why portions of the record are being redacted.
Requestors must claim or review the assembled records within thirty days of the City’s notification to him or her that the records are available for inspection or copying. If the requestor or a representative of the requestor fails to claim or review the records within the thirty-day period or make other arrangements, the City may close the request and refile the assembled records.
When the request is for a large number of records, Public Records Officers will provide access for inspection and copying in installments, if he or she reasonably determines that it would be practical to provide the records in that way. When the requestor has obtained the records he or she is seeking, the requestor should advise the Public Records Officer that the provided records complete the request, and the request may be closed. If, within thirty days, the requestor fails to inspect available installments, Public Records Officers may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request.
When a requestor either withdraws the request, fails to clarify an entirely unclear request, fails to fulfill his or her obligations to inspect the records, fails to pay the deposit, fails to pay the required fees for an installment, or fails to make final payment for the requested copies, Public Records Officers will close the request.