Request a Public Record

Public Records Requests

You may request records by U.S Mail, fax, email, in person, or over the phone. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA. Please note, from a practical perspective, it may be beneficial to create a written record of your request to provide a clear statement of the records you are requesting, as well as to avoid any misunderstanding over a verbal request.

Your request must identify the records you are seeking with "reasonable specificity." In other words, your request is not limited by the volume or number of records that you request, instead, it requires that you be specific enough so that we can sufficiently identify and locate the records you are seeking. FOIA gives you a right to inspect or copy records. It does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of the Town, nor does it require the Town to create a record that doesn't exist.

Communication with the Town

If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with staff's efforts to clarify the type of record(s) that you are seeking or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a request. Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking. You may contact Melissa Powell, the Public Relations and FOIA Officer, by one of the following ways:

  • In person at Christiansburg Town Hall located at 100 East Main Street
  • By email the town
  • By phone at 540-382-6128, ext. 1150
  • By fax at 540-382-7338
  • By mail: Christiansburg Town Hall
    Attn: Melissa Powell
    100 E Main St.
    Christiansburg, VA 24073

What Information Do I Need to Provide When Making a Request?

The Town simply asks that you provide your name and address as well as any supplemental information that would help in contacting you regarding the request, such as an email address. Your request must also be reasonably specific so that the record(s) you are seeking can be located and identified.

How Will I Receive the Records Request?

You may request records in any format used by the Town, such as paper, email, or electronic means. The Town can provide the records requested to you by mail, email, or you can arrange to personally retrieve copies of the records.

Will I Have to Pay for the Records?

A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.

You may request that the Town estimate the cost for supplying the record in advance. If the estimated costs exceed $200, you may be required to pay a deposit (not to exceed the amount of the estimate) before processing your request. Please note, if you have an unpaid balance for a previous request that is older than 30 days, the Town will require you to pay the past due bill before processing any subsequent requests.

Can I Be Denied a Request?

Records requests can be denied based upon the law, which exempts the disclosure of certain records to the public. Examples of some records which would be withheld by a public body include:

  • Personnel records (§2.2-370.1 [1])
  • Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract (§2.2-3705.1[12])
  • Records subject to attorney / client privilege (§2.2-3705.1 [1])
  • Vendor proprietary information (§2.2-3705.1[6])

More Information
The Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council is a state agency that can answer any questions you may have about the FOIA process. The council may be contacted by emailing the FOIA Council or toll free by phone at 866-448-4100.

The text of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act is available online or we can provide you with a copy upon request. Questions can also be directed by emailing Public Information Office or by phone at 540-382- 6128 ext. 1150.