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Public Records Act Requests

Guidelines For Public Records Act Requests

It is the goal of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency to respond to public record requests in compliance with federal and state laws. These guidelines are intended to clarify the process for the public for inspecting or copying records under the California Public Records Act (the "Act") and to establish clear procedures in implementing the Act.[1] Procedures for inspection, copying and a description of the types of records generally not subject to disclosure are outlined. The guidelines apply only to the MCWRA and are not intended to establish procedures for the entire County or to supersede any requirements of state law.

Any person may request to inspect a public record or request a copy of the record. Most MCWRA records are subject to disclosure, although some records are exempt from disclosure based on limited exceptions. Disclosure of records is the rule, and non-disclosure is the exception.

Inspection Of Public Records

Public records are open to inspection by advance appointment during normal business hours, and every person has a right to inspect any public record except for those records or portions of records which are exempt from disclosure under state law (Section 6253(a). The term "inspection" essentially means reviewing the record.

Copies Of Records

If the MCWRA keeps the records in an electronic format, the public may request the records in an electronic format, and, within certain limitations enumerated by state law the MCWRA must provide the records in electronic format. (Section 6253.9.) The MCWRA requires payment of the copy fee prior to provision of the copies.

Records Available On-Line

Many records held by the Monterey County Water Resources Agency are available in electronic format on the MCWRA website. The following list is an example of records available to the public on-line:

  • Board of Directors Agendas and Minutes
  • Committee Agendas and Minutes
  • Ordinances
  • Reservoir Data
  • Groundwater Extraction Summary Reports
  • Seawater Intrusion Maps
  • Salinas Valley Water Project Records
  • Salinas River Stream Maintenance Program Final EIR
  • MCWRA Annual Adopted Budget

Records Exempt From Disclosure

State law recognizes that certain categories of documents may be exempt from disclosure (Section 6254 and 6275 et seq.). The MCWRA may need to seek legal advice from County Counsel in determining that a record is exempt from disclosure. Examples of categories of documents that the County may exempt from disclosure include the following [2]:

  1. Drafts: memos, notes, preliminary drafts that are not normally kept by the Department in the ordinary course of business, provided the public interest in non-disclosure clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
  2. Records containing or seeking advice of counsel: These are protected by attorney client and attorney work-product privilege. This includes notations on documents by legal counsel.
  3. Litigation: Documents specifically prepared for use in litigation if the MCWRA is a party to the litigation.
  4. Investigatory records such as those involving code enforcement files are exempt under the California Public Record Act. Therefore, any decision to disclose a specific document from those records will be made at the discretion of staff in consultation with their managers and County Counsel. Records for which the MCWRA can demonstrate that the public interest in non-disclosure clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Procedures And Time Limits For Making Records Available

If a member of the public requests to inspect a record, they should complete the Public Records Request Form and submit it to the MCWRA. Depending on the size of the request, the type of records requested, and staff availability, staff will make the record(s) available for inspection as soon as feasible within the ten day legal requirement or staff will notify the requester that additional time will be necessary.

Making A Request For Public Records

The MCWRA prefers that the public complete a Public Records Request Form to ensure that the most complete and accurate records available are obtained for the Requester. Records may be requested in person, by mail, FAX, e-mail, on-line or on the phone. Telephone request for public records will be honored but completion of the Public Records Request Form usually results in a more accurate fulfillment of the request.

The Public Records Request Form can be submitted via e-mail attachment, FAX, mail or in person to the following location:

Monterey County Water Resources Agency 
1441 Schilling Pl., North Building, Salinas CA 93901
Phone: (831) 755-5860|
FAX: (831) 424-7935
Email: henaultag@co.monterey.ca.us

Requests Made Via E-Mail:

  1. Download the Public Records Request Form from the MCWRA website and complete all required information.
  2. Attach the document to the e-mail and send to the Agency e-mail address above. Staff will confirm electronically that the request was received.

Charges For Copies:

Pursuant to the Act (Government Code Section 6257) and the Monterey County Code, the Department charges a fee for copies based on the direct costs of duplication. Current charges are:

  • $0.12 per photocopied page (8.5" x 11", 8.5" x 14" and 11" x 17")
  • $5.00 per CD-ROM
  • Actual duplication costs for blue prints or other oversized or irregularly shaped documents
  • Records that require computer data compilation, extraction or programming will be charged based on the fully burdened labor rate of $155.00 per hour, prorated for actual time spent

Payment Is Required Prior To Provision Of The Copies.


[1] The California Public Records Act is codified at section 6250 through 6270 of the California Government Code, as periodically amended. All citations to section numbers in these guidelines are to the California Government Code, unless otherwise indicated. In the event of any inconsistency between these guidelines and the Public Records Act, the Act shall control.

[2] This list is not complete. State law exempts other categories of records from disclosure.

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Monterey County Water Resources Agency
1441 Schilling Pl., North Bldg., Salinas, CA 93901

    Phone (831) 755-4860   |   FAX (831) 424-7935   |   After Hours (831) 796-1166