Question: What is an Open Records Request?
Answer: All government information is presumed to be available to the public pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia (OCGA) 50-18-70. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information.
Question: How can I get the documents I requested?
Answer: Most documents are available electronically and can be provided through this website by creating an online account and submitting an electronic records request. Records can also be provided via thumb drive (for an additional fee), or you can schedule an appointment with the appropriate department to review files.
Question: How long will it take to obtain the records I'm requesting?
Answer: If we have the records you are seeking, the Open Records Act stipulates that we will provide the responsive documents within three days of receiving the request. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71.
(d) In any instance in which an agency is required to or has decided to withhold all or part of a requested record, the agency shall notify the requester of the specific legal authority exempting the requested record or records from disclosure by Code section, subsection, and paragraph within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed three business days or in the event the search and retrieval of records is delayed pursuant to this subsection or pursuant to subparagraph (b)(1)(A) of this Code section, then no later than three business days after the records have been retrieved. In any instance in which an agency will seek costs in excess of $25.00 for responding to a request, the agency shall notify the requester within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed three business days and inform the requester of the estimate of the costs, and the agency may defer search and retrieval of the records until the requester agrees to pay the estimated costs unless the requester has stated in his or her request a willingness to pay an amount that exceeds the search and retrieval costs. In any instance in which the estimated costs for production of the records exceeds $500.00, an agency may insist on prepayment of the costs prior to beginning search, retrieval, review, or production of the records. Whenever any person who has requested to inspect or copy a public record has not paid the cost for search, retrieval, redaction, or copying of such records when such charges have been lawfully incurred, an agency may require prepayment for compliance with all future requests for production of records from that person until the costs for the prior production of records have been paid or the dispute regarding payment resolved.
Question: Are there any fees associated with my request for open records?
Answer: Information regarding fees are outlined below cited directly from Georgia Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71.
(c)(1) An agency may impose a reasonable charge for the search, retrieval, redaction, and production or copying costs for the production of records pursuant to this article. An agency shall utilize the most economical means reasonably calculated to identify and produce responsive, non excluded documents. Where fees for certified copies or other copies or records are specifically authorized or otherwise prescribed by law, such specific fee shall apply when certified copies or other records to which a specific fee may apply are sought. In all other instances, the charge for the search, retrieval, or redaction of records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid full-time employee who, in the reasonable discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and training to perform the request; provided, however, that no charge shall be made for the first quarter hour.
(2) In addition to a charge for the search, retrieval, or redaction of records, an agency may charge a fee for the copying of records or data, not to exceed 10¢ per page for letter or legal size documents or, in the case of other documents, the actual cost of producing the copy. In the case of electronic records, the agency may charge the actual cost of the media on which the records or data are produced.
(3) Whenever any person has requested to inspect or copy a public record and does not pay the cost for search, retrieval, redaction, or copying of such records when such charges have been lawfully estimated and agreed to pursuant to this article, and the agency has incurred the agreed-upon costs to make the records available, regardless of whether the requester inspects or accepts copies of the records, the agency shall be authorized to collect such charges in any manner authorized by law for the collection of taxes, fees, or assessments by such agency.
Question: How can I get birth, death, and marriage certificates or gun permits?
Answer: Pursuant to Georgia law, vital records such as birth, death and marriage certificates are not open records. If you need copies of birth or death certificates please contact the Clerk of Court's office at 678-493-6511 or https://www.cherokeega.com/Clerk-of-Courts/. In addition, marriage certificates and firearm information are available through the Probate Court at 678-493-6160 or https://www.cherokeega.com/Probate-Court/.
Question: Where should I send payment for my open records?
Answer: Make any payments for open records payable to "Cherokee County Georgia" and send to:
Cherokee County Georgia
1130 Bluffs Parkway
Canton, GA 30114
Please make sure to include your name and request number.