Media Services: In November 2017 Bear Lake News submitted a 6 month FOIA subscription – ruled valid by the Village Attorney with mandatory compliance. [See Article Link here]
A person has the right to subscribe to future issuances of public records which are created, issued or disseminated on a regular basis. A subscription is valid for up to six months, at the request of the subscriber, and is renewable.
The request – that all Village of Bear Lake property owners should have online access to all documents presented and discussed at any and all Village meetings – would seem routine. As a computer is used to create them, providing the full meeting packet to us or as a posted packet on the Village’s own web site would also seem a simple routine public service?
Why would any unit of government refuse to comply?
Why would any municipality ignore requests?
Or make any of the @160 adults who live here file a lengthy FOIA application for documents their tax dollars have already paid for the creation of?
And then attempt to charge a fee for providing?
This is why, at the Village’s request, one request is filed for us to act on behalf of all property owners.
under MI Freedom of Information Act (Public Act No. 442 of 1976 as amended), Bear Lake News hereby renews it’s 6 month Subscription request, as a community news media service, for the following items:
Bills to be paid
Financial reports, profit and loss and treasurer accounts
Any and all documents presented for review and/or discussion
4. All draft unapproved, and Approved/Corrected Minutes, to be sent within the time frame as prescribed under Michigan Open Meetings Act 267 of 1976 as amended.
- Bills to be paid. Financial reports, profit and loss (Budget To Date By Fund By Line Item) and treasurer accounts
- Any and all documents presented for review and/or discussion by Council, Committee or Commission.
3. All draft unapproved, and Approved/Corrected Minutes, to be sent within the time frame as prescribed under Michigan Open Meetings Act 267 of 1976 as amended.
The provisions of the Michigan Open Meetings Act – as explained by now Republican Candidate for Governor Bill Schuette – contains the following:
“Moreover, the use of electronic communications for discussions or deliberations, which are not, at a minimum, able to be heard by the public in attendance at an open meeting are contrary to the OMA’s core purpose – the promotion of openness in government.
Using e-mail to distribute handouts, agenda items, statistical information, or other such material during an open meeting should be permissible under the OMA, particularly when copies of that information are also made available to the public before or during the meeting. “
Penalties for non compliance:
If the court determines, in an action commenced under this act, that a public body willfully and intentionally failed to comply with this act or otherwise acted in bad faith, the court shall order the public body to pay, in addition to any other award or sanction, a civil fine of not less than $2,500.00 or more than $7,500.00 for each occurrence. In determining the amount of the civil fine, the court shall consider the budget of the public body and whether the public body has previously been assessed penalties for violations of this act. The civil fine shall be deposited in the general fund of the state treasury.
History: Add. 2014, Act 563, Eff. July 1, 2015
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA
© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan
- June, July, September and October Budget Reports which track spending. This is the last one received:
Additional sheets can be viewed here – https://bearlakemichigan49614.com/2018/09/09/who-we-are-part-ii-where-the-money-goes/
The Profit and Loss Report must be available to Council Members prior to approval to amend the Budget to identify where overspending has occurred and where money will be drawn from to cover those deficits.
- On September 4th:
Attached you will find the Profit & Loss Budget vs. Actual that was updated for the August council meeting.
On October 16, 2018:
TO: Clerk and Village President
A Special Assessment District for the Village was approved at the October Council Meeting. Residents have been advised they can only see a copy between the hours of 1-3 at the Village Hall Tuesday-Thursday. It is unclear at which public meeting this was created.