Skip Navigation LinksFreedom of Information Law


The Freedom of Information Law (under §87 and §89 of the New York State Public Officers Law) is New York State's principal statute on providing the public with access to government records. The Personal Privacy Proctection Law (Public Officers Law Article 6-a) relates to disclosure of personal information maintained by State agencies. F.O.I.L.s are accepted by the City Clerk as the City's Records Access Officer. The RAO is responsible for ensuring appropriate agency response to public requests for access to records.

"Record" means any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with, or for the department, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, rules regulations or codes.

All F.O.I.L.s are logged in, forwarded to the appropriate department and reviewed for discoverability under the law. That deparment is obligated to undertake a records search for the requested information. The information is then given back to the Records Access Officer who either sends it by mail or arranges for it to be picked up by the requestor. Some requests can involve hundreds of pages of documents and/or photographs, and research may be required by mulitple City departments. Under the law, material is copied at $0.25 per page or charged back to the requestor for the actual cost to the city.

How to Make a F.O.I.L. Request

If you wish to access a record under the F.O.I.L, you must make your request in writing. A link to the city's request form is provided for you below on the bottom of this page. Typically, F.O.I.L.s are requested by individuals, organizations or businesses concerned who wish to obtain copies of building and codes records, police and fire records, information on street and sidewalk repair and maintenance, legal issues pending with the City, and miscellaneous information regarding boards, authorities and commissions of the City.

Please provide as much detail as possible. Be specific listing relevant dates, names, addresses, descriptions, etc. Please ensure that you have listed the correct department for which you are requesting the records from. Make sure that you state how you would prefer to have the copies given to you. You may have them mailed to you after the appropriate payment has been received by the Clerk's Office. You may arrange to pick them up from the Clerk or you may prefer to inspect all documents to determine which ones you may want to have copies made of.

You may obtain a F.O.I.L. request form from the City Clerk's Office and/or submit it in person or you may send your inquiry via landmail, Fax or E-mail to:

City Clerk's Office

Rensselaer City Hall

62 Washington Street

Rensselaer, NY 12144

Fax: 518-462-0890


F.O.I.L. Fee Schedule

There is a charge of $0.25 per page for copies of documents and or computer printout pages. A fee will also be charged for the transferring of materials (if available electronically) to a DVD-ROM, CD-ROM or USB Flash Drive especially if the request involves more than one DVD, CD or Flash Drive. This fee will be determined by the Department from which the request is made.

When to Expect a Response to Your Request

The department from which you have made your request has exactly five (5) business days to respond from the date they received your request. The City Clerk's Office will notify you either via telephone or mail when your response has been processed. Please do not call the Clerk's Office regarding your request unless you believe your response has been delayed past the 5th business day.

 FOIL Request