FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Garret Bush,

 

Complainant,

 

against Docket #FIC 88-124

 

Chairman of the Board of Tax Review and Board of Tax Review of the Town of Waterford,

 

Respondents, August 10, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 24, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated March 10, 1988, the complainant requested the respondents provide him with:

 

a. information furnished to the respondent board on the criteria and manner by which the Waterford Tax Assessor determines equitable valuation of land in an R-20 zone, including factors such as current usage, area, accessibility, slope, ledge, drainage, landscaping, degree of development, and the status of municipal approval for any necessary permits;

 

b. this same information pertaining specifically to the valuation of land at 721, 725, 729, 730 and 732 Vauxhall Street Extension;

 

c. a copy of the recorded proceedings of the hearing about the complainant's land valuation, which began at 7:00 p.m. on February 19, 1988;

 

d. a copy of the recorded proceedings of unscheduled special meetings held to inspect the land and determine its value.

 

Docket #88-124 Page Two

 

3. By letter dated March 26, 1988, and filed with the Commission on March 30, 1988, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging the denial of his request.

 

4. It is found that the respondents failed to respond to the complainant's request within four business days.

 

5. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated 1-21i, G.S.

 

6. It is found that the respondents do not maintain records containing the information described in paragraphs 2a and b, above, but that such records and information are available in the town tax assessor's office.

 

7. It is found that the respondents do have minutes of their meeting of February 19, 1988, which meet the description of the records requested in paragraph 2c, above.

 

8. It is found that the respondents also have minutes of their meeting on the evening of February 23, 1988, at which they considered the complainant's appeal and which meet the description of the records requested in paragraph 2d, above.

 

9. It is found that the respondents failed to provide the complainant with copies of these minutes promptly upon request.

 

10. Thus it is concluded that the respondents violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

11. It is further found that a quorum of the respondent board met on the morning of February 23, 1988, to walk across and review the complainant's property.

 

12. It is found that this meeting is the type for which the complainant requested records, as described in paragraph 2d, above.

 

13. It is found that the respondents failed to keep and maintain a record of this meeting.

 

14. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 88-124 Page Three

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The respondents henceforth shall act in strict compliance with 1-15, 1-19(a) and 1-21i, G.S.

 

2. The respondents forthwith shall schedule an educational workshop on Freedom of Information Act requirements to be given by a Commission staff attorney and to take place no later than 60 days after the mailing of the notice of the final decision in this matter.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of August 10, 1988.

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission