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Requesting Public Records (FOIA)
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
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.

FOIA's purpose 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.

Available Records
Existing public records prepared by or in the possession of a public body or its officers / employees in the ordinary transaction of public business. FOIA does not require that the Town create records that do not already exist or answer general questions.

Examples of the types of public records maintained by the Town include:
  • Police incident reports
  • Correspondence – both electronic and written – of town staff and officials as part of official town business
  • Records of contracts into which the town has entered
  • Photos, handwritten notes and video and audio tapes
  • Others

Definition of a Public Record
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.

Examples of some records which would be withheld by a public body include: 
  • Personnel records
  • Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract
  • Records subject to attorney / client privilege
  • Vendor proprietary information
  • Others
If you are unsure whether the Town has the record(s) you seek, please contact Melissa Powell, Public Relations and FOIA Officer, by phone at 540-382-6128 ext. 1150.

What Are My Rights Under FOIA?
  • You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
  • You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
  • If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA.