The Allen County Auditor believes that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy.
What is a Public Record?
The Ohio Revised Code defines records as any document, device or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, including an electronic record, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of any public office of the state or its political subdivisions, which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office. A public record is a record kept by any public office. All records of the Allen County Auditor are public, unless they are exempt from disclosure per the Ohio Revised Code.
It is the policy of the Auditor that, as required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. The Auditor’s Office does have a formal Public Records Policy. There are Public Records signs located in the Auditor’s Office as well.
What Information in the Auditor’s Office is Considered a Public Record?
Most of the information kept by the Auditor’s Office is considered a public record. These include all real estate records, accounts payables, financial reports and certain payroll information of employees. Documents in electronic mail (email) format are records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code when their content relates to the business of the office. Examples of records that are not public include social security numbers, medical information and bank accounts. Neither of these are exhaustive lists. If you would like more information, please contact the Auditor’s Office. They can assist you in accessing public records.
How do I Access a Public Record?
You must contact the individual department to request a public record. Each elected official has policy and procedures for their public records.
Each request for public records will be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:
Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the public office to identify, retrieve and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the Auditor must contact the requester for clarification. The Auditor’s Office will assist the requester in revising the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the office keeps its records.
It is the general policy of the Auditor’s Office to inform the requestor that a written request and the requester’s identity and intended use of the information requested are not required. However, the Auditor may ask for a written request and may ask for the requester’s identity and/or intended use of the information requested if it would benefit the requester by helping the public office identify, locate or deliver the records being sought.
Public records are available for inspection from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested, the proximity of the location where the records are stored and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
Routine requests for records should be satisfied immediately if feasible to do so. Routine requests include, but are not limited to, meeting minutes, budgets, salary information and personnel rosters. If fewer than 20 pages of copies are requested or if the records are readily available in an electronic format that can be e-mailed or downloaded easily these request should be fulfilled immediately.
All requests for public records must be acknowledged in writing by the public office within three business days following the office’s receipt of the request. If a request is voluminous or will require research, the acknowledgement must include the following:
• An estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request.
• An estimated cost if copies are requested.
• Any items within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.
Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted. However, the rest of the record will be released. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation including legal authority.
Costs for Public Records
Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies. The charge for paper copies is $.05 cents per page or the amount required by law.
The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $1.00 per disk. The charge for download computer files to a DVD is $2.00 per disk.
Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. The requester will be charged the actual cost of postage and mailing supplies.
There is no charge for documents that are e-mailed.
Responding to a Public Record Request
The Auditor recognizes the legal and non-legal consequences of failure to properly respond to a public records request.
If you prefer, you can use the Auditor’s Office Public Records Request Form to help facilitate your public records request. It is not mandatory, you do not have to put your request in writing or identify yourself.
You may also place your request in person at our office:
301 N. Main St.
Lima, OH 45801
You may also submit a request:
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By fax: (419) 222-2543
By phone: (419) 223-8520
Allen County Auditor
Attn: Public Record
301 N. Main St
PO Box 1243
Lima, OH 45801