Fall Fest 2017 at the Library
Rights & Responsibilities:
The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of
Town of Halifax, Virginia
Under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
Your FOIA Rights
Making a Request for Records from Town of Halifax, Virginia
- From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to create a record of your request. It also gives us a clear statement of what records you are requesting, so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request. However, we cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect to not put it in writing.
- For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records
Responsibilities of Town of Halifax, Virginia, in Responding to Your Request
a) Personnel time for responses to FOIA requests that require 30 minutes or less of time spent searching and copying will not be charged to you.
b) Personnel responding to your request shall have discretion to determine if his/her individual time spent responding to a FOIA request (in excess of 30 minutes) will be charged to the requester.
c) The time fee charged for responses shall be based upon the annualized Town pay rate, plus the total annual costs of regular Town benefits, for the particular individual(s) preparing a response to a FOIA request. The Town will divide the total of the annualized pay rate and annual benefits costs or the individual by 2,080 hours, to determine each hourly rate to be charged for responding to a FOIA request.
d) The Town will take all reasonable precautions to keep personnel time and costs to a minimum, including using lower paid personnel capable of retrieving records to respond to a request. However, in situations where a particular individual is required to search through his/her own email and files contained on his/her individual Town computer or other device it shall not be unreasonable for that individual to retrieve the requested records and charge a FOIA response fee corresponding to his/her salary and benefits. In some cases, it may be necessary for multiple personnel to participate in responding to a FOIA request.
e) In addition to fees for personnel time, fees charged for copying and other costs shall be as follows:
1) Copies (8½ x 11 black & white): $.50 per page.
2) Copies (other-color and/or sizes up to/including 11x 17): $1.00 per page.
3) Copies (other–items in excess of 11x 17, as such items generally require specialized equipment to reproduce): $1.50 per page.
4) A page constitutes one side of a document. A double sided document counts as two pages.
5) Other/specialty items (including audio/video recordings): as determined by responding personnel, based on actual cost.
6) Mail: actual cost to mail the request (if more than two ounces, otherwise no charge).
Types of Records
The following is a general description of the types of records held by Town of Halifax, Virginia:
If you are unsure whether Town of Halifax, Virginia, has the record(s) you seek, please contact the FOIA Officer by using the contact information provided above.
Commonly Used Exemptions
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. Town of Halifax, Virginia, commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:
Policy Regarding the Use of Exemptions
Town of Halifax, Virginia, will determine, on a case-by-case basis, as to whether a statutory exemption should be invoked to withhold requested records.
l Public Service Announcement:
The Town of Halifax would like to notify residents, businesses and property owners that 2017 tax bills for real estate are being mailed the week of August 28th, and, personal property and machine & tool tax notices will be mailed separately prior to November 1st with an accompanying announcement which will outline the December 5, 2017 due date both on personal property and machine & tool taxes along with a reminder to taxpayers of the real estate payment for the same deadline.
Halifax is pleased to continue offering the payment option for Real Estate and Personal Property tax bills using Paymentus Corporation, a third party automated payment service that accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Electronic Check. This payment plan can only be accessed online or by phone using Paymentus. This system will not be set up for payments in person at the Halifax Town Hall, although cash and check payments will continue to be accepted in person. Paymentus Corporation will charge a convenience fee for each transaction (the fee covers payment handling and processing charges). Customers should be ready with the following information:
For Real Estate, the 5-digit Parcel ID number (located on your billing statement),For Personal Property, the 4-digit Tax ID number (located on your billing statement),Your Credit Card number or your Checking Account and Routing Number
To pay your bill by phone dial: 1-877-489-1674 to call a secure automated telephone payment system, powered by Paymentus Corporation.
To pay your bill online go to the Town of Halifax website http://www.townofhalifax.com, click on the “Pay Online Taxes” bar at the top and go to a secure third party website at Paymentus Corporation.
Please be reminded that the deadline for payment of total real estate tax due is Tuesday December 5, 2017. If a receipt is desired, please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. Payments made after the due date are subject to 10% Penalty and 10% Interest Per Annum. Also any real estate or personal property taxes not paid after the 2nd notice will have a $15.00 administration fee added along with a stop being placed on your vehicle registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles, incurring an additional fee of $35. If ownership of property has been transferred during the current tax year, the bill should be forwarded to the responsible party. For information about the tax assessment of property, please contact the County Commissioner of Revenue’s Office at 434-476-3314.
If you have any questions about phone or online payments, please call Halifax Town Hall at 434-476-2343.