James City County will spend $102,328 for a Freedom of Information Act online request system, which is intended to simplify and expedite requests for public information.
Using the new system, people will be able to make Freedom of Information Act requests, monitor data collection by county staff, pay for the request and receive the request all at one online portal, according to a county memo. Staff expects the system will be rolled out for public use in three to four months.
“We strive to provide easy access to public information. In order to provide the best service to James City County residents and comply with the frequently changing Freedom of Information Act, we have to make sure we have adequate technology to support the process,” said Ania Eckhardt, the county administrative and Freedom of Information Act officer, in an email.
Eckhardt said the new system is expected to improve communication between county departments as information requests are fulfilled and allow staff to more quickly locate records. The system will likely decrease response times and lower costs for those seeking information.
The police department receives an average of 15 to 20 requests monthly, many of which include video and audio recordings. County administration gets an average of 10 multi-departmental requests a month. The online system will allow people to access requested information in a timely manner, as required by law.