What Is the Freedom of Information Act?
Consistent with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Public Act 442 of 1976, the following is the Written Public Summary of the City of Alma's FOIA Procedures and Guidelines relevant to the general public.
How do I submit a FOIA request to the City?
• A request must sufficiently describe a public record so as to enable the City to find it.
• Please include the words “FOIA” or “FOIA Request” in the request to assist the City in providing a prompt response.
• Requests to inspect or obtain copies of public records prepared, owned, used, possessed or retained by the City may be submitted on the City’s FOIA Request Form (which is available on this page under FOIA Documents), in any other form of writing (letter, fax, email, etc.), or by verbal request. (Any verbal request will be documented by the City on the City’s FOIA Request Form).
• Written requests may be delivered to the City of Alma Municipal Building in person or by mail:
Attn: FOIA Coordinator, 525 East Superior Street, Alma, Michigan 48801
• Requests may be faxed to: 989-463-5574. Faxed requests should contain the term “FOIA” or “FOIA Request” on the first/cover page.
• Requests may be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Email requests should contain the term “FOIA” or “FOIA Request” in the subject line.
What kind of response can I expect to my request?
• Within 5 business days after receiving a FOIA request the City will issue a response. If a request is received by fax or email, the request is deemed to have been received on the following business day.
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 in part the request, issue a notice indicating that due to the nature of the request the City needs an additional 10 business days to respond.
How may I challenge the denial of a public record?
If you believe that all or a portion of a public record has not been disclosed or has been improperly exempted from disclosure, you may appeal to the Alma City Commission by filing a written appeal of the denial with the City Clerk on behalf of the commission. The appeal must be in writing, specifically state the word “appeal,” and identify the reason or reasons you are seeking a reversal of the denial. You may use the City FOIA Appeal Form (To Appeal a Denial of Records), which is available on this page under FOIA Documents.
The Alma City Commission is not considered to have received a written appeal until the first regularly scheduled Commission meeting following submission of the written appeal. Within 10 business days of receiving the appeal the Alma City Commissioners 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 you submitted an appeal of a denial to the Alma City Commissioners, you may file a civil action in the County Circuit Court within 180 days after the City's final determination to deny your request. If you prevail in the civil action the court will award you reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements. If the court determines that the City acted arbitrarily and capriciously in refusing to disclose or provide a public record, the court shall award you damages in the amount of $1,000.