Florida has a very broad and open access policy regarding public records. In Florida Statute Chapter 119, (link: www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2019/Chapter119/All) it clearly states that each government agency is charged with the responsibility of safeguarding its public records. All state county and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Additionally, it is the duty of each agency to provide this access. Every person who has custody of a public record must permit the record to be inspected and copied by any individual desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, and under reasonable conditions.
Papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films and sound recordings are just a few types of public records maintained by the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD). Regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, if the records are made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business it is deemed a public record. Unless an exemption exists in the legislation, for example, medical information or social security numbers, the records must be made available to the public upon request. If access is denied, LWDD will provide the legal citation of the exemption.
LWDD is committed to providing open and prompt access to the agency’s public records and many frequently requested records can be found on our website (link: www.lwdd.net). Public record requests do not have to be submitted in writing, however, a request form (link: www.lwdd.net/contact/public-records-request) is available to help facilitate the process. Regardless of the method used when making a request, it is important to be specific about the records you are requesting and if possible, include the date range. A very broad and ambiguous request can take longer to fulfill and the cost of production of extraneous records may become burdensome to the requestor.
More information about Florida’s Public Records and exemptions can be found in the Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual (link: www.myfloridalegal.com/sun.nsf/sunmanual).