Request Access to Public Records

/Request Access to Public Records
Request Access to Public Records 2018-05-21T14:20:05+00:00

The City of Lynden responds to requests for  public records in accordance with RCW 42.56, Public Records Act (PRA).  The City does not have a single index of  records.  Passage of  Resolution No. 704, determined that maintaining an index would create an unreasonable and undue burden on the City and would substantially interfere with City operations due to the amount of staff time and costs associated with such a task.

In order to provide the best customer service and to ensure compliance with state law all public records requests shall be directed to one of the following locations:

General Government Records:
City Clerk/Public Records Officer
300 Fourth Street
Lynden, WA  98264
360-354-1170, Option #5
E-mail

Lynden Police Department Records:
Lynden Police Department
203 19th Street
Lynden, WA  98264
360-354-2828
E-mail

Lynden Municipal Court Records:
Municipal Court Clerk
300 Fourth Street
Lynden, WA  982364
360-354-4270
E-mail

If the requester is unsure of where to file the records request please forward the request to the City Clerk/Public Records Officer.


General Government Records

The City encourages and prefers that public records requests for general government records be submitted in writing on a public records request form (here).  However, other written formats such as email are acceptable.  If possible, please include the following information in your email:

  • Name
  • Mailing address
  • Contact phone number and email address
  • Specific information regarding the records requested (See request form)
  • Whether the request is to inspect the records; receive hard copies of the records or receive electronic records (fees may apply).  Records are available for inspection (no fee to inspect) and copying during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding legal holidays.  In some instances, staff may require an appointment for inspection and copying of records.

If the requester prefers to submit requests verbally  (phone call or in-person) the information provided to staff will then be transferred onto a request form. Records requests may also be submitted through postal mail.  The 5 -Day Notice will commence on the day after the request is date stamped by City staff.


Once the City receives the records request one or more of the following responses will be provided:

  1.  Make the records available for inspection or copying; or
  2.  Provide an internet address and link on the City’s website to the specific records requested;
  3.  Acknowledge receipt of the request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records or an installment of records will be available; or
  4.  Acknowledge receipt of the request and ask the requester to provide clarification, then provide a reasonable estimate of when records or
    an installment of records will be available; or
  5.  Deny the request, citing the reason for nondisclosure.

Please note: It may become necessary for the City to request additional time to locate and assemble records, provide third-party notification or determine whether the records requested are exempt from disclosure or subject to redaction*.

RCW 42.56.070(9) prohibits the use of lists of individuals for commercial purposes.  “Commercial purposes” means that the person requesting the record intends that the list will be used to communicate with the individuals named in the record for the purpose of facilitating profit-expecting activity.  The PRA at RCW 42.56.080 authorizes agencies to require a requester to provide information as to the purpose of a request “to establish whether inspection and copying would violate RCW 42.56.070(9).  In order to ensure compliance the City may require the requester to complete a Declaration Regarding Commercial Purposes form.

Public Records Fee Schedule: 

Paper copies 15 cents per page
Scanned copies 10 cents per page
Records uploaded to email, cloud-based storage, CD/DVD or flash drive 5 cents each per every 4 electronic files or attachments
Records transmitted in electronic format 10 cents per gigabyte (GB)
Digital Storage Media Device (CD/DVD, flash drive) Actual Cost
Envelopes & Postage or Delivery Actual Cost
Nonstandard copies (over-sized copies, photographs, plans, etc.) Actual Cost
Any other record not described above Actual Cost

Additional Information Regarding Fees and Payment

There is no cost for inspection of public records.   The City will notify the requester in writing when the records are ready for review. The requester must review the assembled records within 30 days of the City’s notification. If the requester fails to review the records (or make other arrangements) within the 30-day period  the request will be deemed abandoned and will be administratively closed without further communication to the requester.

The City does charge fees for copying, scanning and mailing records in accordance with the above fee schedule. Payment for  production of records must be received before records are provided.  The City may require a 10% deposit for large records requests which require multiple installments.

RCW 42.56.120(3) authorizes agencies to assess a customized service charge if the agency estimates that the request would require use of IT expertise to prepare data compilations or provide customized electronic access services when such compilations and customized access services are not used by the agency for other business purposes.  The City will notify the requester of the customized service charge to be applied to the request, including an explanation of why the customized charge applies, a description of the specific expertise and a reasonable estimate cost of the charge.  A 10% deposit may be required for such requests.

Requests for electronic records that exceed 25 megabytes in size will be provided on a digital storage device such as a CD/DVD or USB drive.  Digital storage devices are charged at the actual cost.  Electronic records that are less than 25 megabytes in size may be sent through the city’s email as an attachment.  Fees may be charged in accordance with the above fee schedule.

The City does not provide customized access to its databases or computer systems such as personal use of its databases or computer systems.  However, the City will allow a requester to view public records which are responsive to their request on a City computer system if necessary.

Please note: Charges will not be assessed if the fees total less than $10.00.

*Public Disclosure Statutes (Updated 2017)


For further information about the Public Records Disclosure process please contact City Clerk/Public Records Officer Pam Brown at 360-255-7085.