All City records, except those specifically excluded by Missouri law, are deemed "open records." However, not all records have to be requested by filing a Sunshine Law request. Such records would include, but are not limited to, current agendas, minutes of meetings, ordinances, or resolutions.
If historic copies of these documents are requested which would involve staff time to research and retrieve, it would be advisable to file a Sunshine Request so that the requestor can receive an estimate of the cost to produce the records. The City can request that payment be made in advance of producing the records.
Many current City Council agendas, minutes, and City Code are accessible on this website.
Q: Is there a charge for copies requested?
A: Yes. The city charges 10 cents per copy as allowed by the Missouri Sunshine Law.
Q: Can I view the records without copying them for free?
A: Records can be viewed without paying for copying. However, there may still be a charge for finding and collecting the records.
Q: Where can I view records?
A: Records can only be viewed at the office of the City Clerk, 320 E. McCarty. All persons viewing records will be supervised. The City provides a counter and chairs for viewing records. Desk or table space may be available if requested in advance.
Q: Must my request for records be in writing?
A: No, the Sunshine Law allows for verbal requests. However, persons are strongly encouraged to put requests in writing as experience has shown that doing so makes it more likely that the information you actually want will be found.
Q: Can't I just send my request directly to the department that has the record I want?
A: If you do, response to your request will be delayed since all Sunshine Requests are forwarded to the City Clerk by all departments for action per in accordance with City policy. The time frame for responding to the your request does not begin until the request has been received by the City Clerk's office.
Q: Does the City have to give me my records in three days according to the Sunshine Law?
A: No. The Sunshine Law states that the City must respond to your request within three days, not fulfill the request within three days. State law allows government bodies to inform the requestor if they cannot provide the records within the three-day response time frame by giving the requestor its reason, in writing, of the need for additional time, and give an estimated time when they will be able to produce the records.
Q: Will the City create reports for me?
A: No. Only existing records can be obtained. The City will not create reports or other new documents. Sunshine Law requests should not be framed in terms of questions, but rather ask for specific documents.
Some records kept by the City are closed records under Missouri Law and not accessible to the public under the Sunshine Law. If the records are "closed" records, the City Clerk will notify the requestor of that fact within three days.
NOTE: If the only person able to produce the requested records is unavailable at the time of the request, the time frame for producing the record does not begin until that person returns.
Q: What if I need an "official" copy for some reason?
A: When you request your record, be sure to state you need either a certified copy, or an affidavit form completed which you can provide with your request. The City Clerk will certify the records at no additional charge.
Q: I forgot to ask for the records to be certified when I requested them. Can I just send them or bring them back to be certified?
A: No. Once the records have left the possession of the City Clerk, they cannot be certified as "official" records. You will need to resubmit your records request and the records produced again before they can be certified.
Q: Can I just print off part of the City Code from the city's website to use in my court case or for other official purposes?
A: No. The only "official" version of the City Code is maintained in the City Clerk's office. Certified copies for official purposes should be requested directly from the City Clerk. Certified copies will include a certificate containing the embossed City seal and original signature of the City Clerk or Deputy City Clerk. There is no additional charge to certify records.
The City of Jefferson complies with all state laws governing access to public records. If you have questions, call the City Clerk at (573) 634-6311.