Public Records Requests

The City Clerk acts as the city's Public Records Officer (PRO) and is responsible for processing requests for public records.  Requests may be submitted to the PRO by mail, telephone, email or in person at the administration office in City Hall.  We encourage requesters to submit requests through a public records request form.

Please include the following information when submitting a request for public records:

  • Name.
  • Mailing address.
  • Contact phone number and email address.
  • Specific information regarding the records requested. 
  • State whether the request is to inspect the records, receive hard copies of the records, or receive electronic records (fees may apply-Ordinance #1551). Records are available for inspection/viewing during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, excluding legal holidays. In some instances, staff may require that you schedule an appointment to inspect records. There is no fee for viewing/inspection of records.

Processing a Request

One or more of the following responses will be provided when the request is received:

  • Make the records available for inspection or copying.
  • Provide an internet address and link on the City's website to the specific records requested.
  • Acknowledge receipt of the request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records or an installment of records will be available.
  • 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.
  • Deny the request, citing the reason for nondisclosure.

Please note: It may become necessary 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 (see Public Disclosure Statutes for more information).

Exemptions

Some public records have no disclosure restrictions and must be provided upon request. However, some records are exempt from disclosure or prohibited from disclosure (either in whole or in part) under the Public Records Act. PRA exemptions are set forth in RCW 42.56.230-.470. 

View the Public Disclosure Exemptions -2019 (PDF). For further information about the Public Records Disclosure process, please contact City Clerk/Public Records Officer Pam Brown at 360-255-7085.

Note Regarding Commercial Purposes

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 (PDF).

Special Consideration 

  • If a requester has not reviewed or claimed records within thirty (30) days of notice that records are available or fails to make payment, the PRO may close the request.
  • If requested records contain information that may affect the rights of others, the PRO is required to give 3rd party notice and allow time for action by the other parties before disclosing the records.
  • If the PRO becomes aware of additional documents existing at the time of the request, these records will be provided to the requester on an expedited basis.


Additional Information Regarding Fees and Payments

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 Information Technology (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.


Submitting a Request

  • General Government Records:
     City Clerk/Public Records Officer
     300 Fourth Street
     Lynden, WA 98264
     Phone: 360-354-1170, opt. 5
    Email Administration
  • Lynden Police Department Records:
     Lynden Police Department
     203 19th Street
     Lynden, WA 98264
     Phone: 360-354-2828
    Email Police Department
  • Lynden Municipal Court Records:
     Municipal Court Clerk
     300 Fourth Street
     Lynden, WA 982364
     Phone: 360-354-4270
    Email Municipal Court

If the requester is unsure of where to file the records request, please forward the request to the City Clerk/Public Records Officer, and it will be routed to the appropriate department.

Record / Service Type

Fee

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

Digital storage media device (CD/DVD, flash drive)

Actual cost

Envelopes and postage or delivery

Actual cost

Nonstandard copies (oversized copies, photographs, plans, etc.)

Actual cost

Any other record not 
described previously

Actual cost