Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Virginia Freedom of Information Act Policy

As a Virginia citizen, you have the right to certain public records. The City of Hopewell (the “City”) performs public business in an open and public manner as required by Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The City believes that citizens should have reasonable access to the inspection and copying of public records to further the accountability of local government. As a result, this policy prescribes the City’s procedures for responding to public records requests made pursuant to FOIA Statute § 2.2-3700.

  1. FOIA allows the City five working days from the date of receipt of the request to respond, in writing, including by:
    • Providing the records to you
    • Letting you know why the records are exempted or excluded by FOIA
    • Letting you know if and why the City of Hopewell needs additional time
  2. In addition to the City Attorney, the City has designated a FOIA officer to serve as a point of contact for members of the public requesting public records and to coordinate the City’s compliance with FOIA. As such, a FOIA Officer may be reached.
  3. The types of public records that the City of Hopewell maintains include:
    • Meeting agendas and minutes
    • Public contracts
    • Ordinances and resolutions
    • Police Records
    • Property Records
  4. The City of Hopewell routinely withholds certain records from release as permitted or required by FOIA or other laws. Exemptions or exclusions in law that permit or require public records to be withheld from the release include those set forth in Virginia Code sections 2.2-3705.1 to 2.2-3706, such as:
    1. Personnel records
    2. Records protected by the attorney-client privilege
    3. Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract
    4. Records that would hinder an ongoing criminal investigation
  5. There are also Constitutional Offices within the City of Hopewell, which have FOIA Officers who provide information relative to their respective offices.
  6. A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records and shall make all reasonable efforts to supply the requested records at the lowest possible cost. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. Prior to conducting a search for records, the public body shall notify the requester in writing that the public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for requested records and inquire of the requester whether he would like to request a cost estimate in advance of the supplying of the requested records as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.