1. How to submit written requests: FOIA Request Form
FOIA requests to Western U P Health Department may be submitted by any of the following means:
MAIL: Western U P Health Department ATTN: FOIA Coordinator 540 Depot Street Hancock, MI 49930
Verbal: Verbal requests will be accepted for information that is available on the agency’s public website. The response to a verbal request will be informing the requestor of the pertinent website address.
Requests should specify the desired records and include a name, phone number, mailing address and email if available. Additional identifying information may be requested in order to complete a search for the requested records.
2. How to understand the County’s written responses to FOIA requests.
Western U P Health Department has several options when responding to written requests for public records. It can grant the FOIA request, deny the request, grant it in part and deny it in part, or take one ten (10) business day extension. After five (5) business days pass, the agency has to respond with one of the other options.
If the request is granted or granted in part and denied in part, the agency can also charge a fee to process the request. Fees are calculated using its procedures and guidelines and you will receive a detailed itemization of the fee. The agency may require you to pay a good faith deposit before it processes your request. After you pay any deposit and final balance due, the agency will produce records in its possession that fall within the scope of your request and that legally may be disclosed to the public. The agency may also notify you that some of the records you have requested are available on its website.
If the request is denied, the agency will inform you of the basis for its denial in a written notice. Reasons the agency may deny a request include:
- You did not describe the records you have requested well enough and the agency cannot determine what you are asking for;
- The agency has determined that it does not have records that respond to your request in its possession; or
- The records you have requested are exempt from public disclosure.
If all or part of your request is denied, the agency will inform you of your right to appeal its denial and/ or to file a lawsuit against the agency in its written response.
3. Deposit requirements
If the agency estimates a fee to process a FOIA request greater than $50.00, the agency will require a good faith deposit from you before providing the public records to you. The deposit will not exceed 1/2 of the total estimated fee. Any written notice containing a notice of a deposit shall also contain a best efforts estimate by the agency regarding the time frame after a deposit is received that it will take the agency to provide the public records to you. The time frame estimate is not binding upon the agency, but the agency will provide the estimate in good faith and strive to be reasonably accurate and to provide the public records in a manner based on this State’s public policy under section 1 of the FOIA, MCL 15.231, and the nature of the request in the particular instance.
4. Fee calculations
The FOIA permits the agency to charge a fee to process FOIA requests using a form to give you a detailed itemization of the costs involved. The agency may charge for the following costs:
- The costs of labor for search, location, and examination of public records;
- The costs of labor for the review of public records and separation and deletion of exempt from nonexempt material;
- The costs of non-paper physical media;
- The cost of duplication and publication of public records;
- The actual costs of mailing public records.
5. Avenues for challenge and appeal:
If the agency charges a fee or denies all or part of a request, you may submit to the agency Health Officer a written appeal that specifically states the word “appeal” and identifies the basis for which the fee should be reduced or the disclosure determination should be reversed. Written appeals may be sent to the email address or mailing address listed above and will be forwarded to the Health Officer for response.