Freedom of Information Act
The General Assembly finds that it is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that citizens shall be advised of the performance of public officials and of the decisions that are reached in public activity and the formulation of public policy. Toward this end, provisions of this chapter must be construed to make it possible for citizens, or their representatives, to learn and report the activities of their public officials fully at a minimum cost or delay to the persons seeking access to public documents or meetings (South Carolina Freedom of Information Act Request – South Carolina Code Annotated §30-4-15).
The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides public access to meetings and records of a public body with certain limited exceptions. FOIA requires a written request to be delivered to the County Administration for most records. Requests must be made using the County’s Freedom of Information Act request form (link here). If you’d like to request a hard copy of the FOIA form, you may do so at the Receptionist desk or the County Administrator’s Office (County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St., Lancaster, SC 29720).
- Mail to County Administration, ATTN: FOIA, PO Box 1809, Lancaster, SC 29721
- Hand delivery to the Lancaster County Administration Building, Administrator's Office, 101 N. Main St., Lancaster, SC 29720
In order to obtain information, you must be able to provide a reasonable description of the public records you are seeking. In accordance with South Carolina FOIA, Lancaster County can charge a fee for the cost of searching and/or making copies of records which is based upon the time spent researching and gathering and the hourly rate of the person most qualified to perform the research and gathering in the department or departments where responsive documents are maintained. See the chart below for any possible fees related to copies or FOIA research. When you have completed and submitted the form, a written response will be mailed to you within ten (10) business days from the date of receipt for records requested which are less than twenty-four (24) months old and within twenty (20) days for records requested which are more than twenty-four (24) months old in accordance with South Carolina FOIA. The response will advise of the County’s determination and the reasons therefore, and whether there is a fee or deposit associated with reproducing the records. Upon payment of the deposit, the requestor will be notified of receipt of the deposit and the remaining amount due. Records will be made available to the requestor within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the deposit for those records less than twenty-four (24) months old and within thirty –five (35) days of the receipt of the deposit for those records older than twenty-four (24) months old provided the remaining costs are paid/received by the County on the thirtieth (30) or thirty-fifth (35) day.
|Duplication Machine Reproduction Fee - General (B&W)||Per Page||$0.10|
|Duplication Machine Reproduction Fee - General (Color)||Per Page||$1.15|
|Audio Recordings of Meetings||Per Copy||$5.00|
|FOIA Research Time||Per Hour||Not to Exceed $15.00/hr|
If the cost for searching, retrieving, or redacting the documents exceeds twenty-five dollars ($25.00), the County may require not to exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the total reasonably anticipated cost for reproduction of the records.
If no deposit is required, records will be made available to the requestor within thirty (30) days of the mailing of the initial responsive letter for those records less than twenty-four (24) months old and within thirty-five (35) days of mailing of the initial response for those records older than twenty-four (24) months.
If this request is specifically for Sheriff’s Office information, please be advised that the above information applies to those requests and that requestors may refer to the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office FOIA Request pdf for additional information.