Residents who submit public records requests to the Kenai Peninsula Borough may have to wait a little longer to get a response.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will hear an ordinance at their meeting Tuesday that will extend from three days to 10 days the amount of time the borough clerk has to respond to records requests.
Current code requires the borough clerk, or their designee, to notify the requestor within three days, letting the requestor know “that the record is exempt, cannot be located or that the request is insufficient to describe the record sought,” the ordinance said.
“The three day requirement is often not enough time for a record request to be processed and researched by the responding department or service area,” the ordinance said. “Increasing the time for response will help alleviate the immediate administrative burden for borough departments and service areas.”
The ordinance said the process for internally searching paper and electronic records is time intensive and involves multiple departments’ personnel time.
Ten days is the time limit for a response enforced by the State of Alaska and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the ordinance said.
The number of records requests coming into the borough continues to increase annually, the ordinance said. No figures were included in the ordinance on how many records requests the borough gets on average. However, a chart included in a Dec. 23 memo from the clerk’s office to the assembly showed an increase in records requests from 2013 to 2019. In 2013, the chart shows about 50 records requests per year were processed. In 2019, the chart shows that nearly 300 were submitted to the borough.
“Increasing the time limit for response will not suppress public access to records or otherwise change the record request process — it will simply help alleviate the immediate administrative burden for borough departments and service areas,” the Dec. 23 memo from the clerk’s office said.