FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Joseph A. Simmons, Jr. And Beverly Simmons,
against Docket #FIC 94-34
Respondent September 14, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 26, 1994, at which time the complainants and the respondent 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 and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter to the respondent dated January 20, 1994, the complainants requested access to inspect certain records pertaining to the town of Hebron's revaluation for the tax list of October 1, 1993.
3. By letter dated January 25, 1994, the respondent informed the complainants that certain of the requested records would be available on January 26 and 31, 1994.
4. By letter dated and filed February 7, 1994, the complainants appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent failed to provide access to some of the requested records.
5. At the hearing on this matter, the parties agreed that of the items requested in the complainants' January 20, 1994 letter, the only item at issue was the complainants' request for "the data used to prepare [the] building cost schedules."
6. It is found that the town of Hebron underwent a revaluation for the tax list of October 1993 and that the revaluation was conducted by a private company hired by the town.
Docket #FIC 94-34 Page 2
7. It is found that in response to the complainants' request, the respondent provided the complainants with access to all records maintained by him pertaining to the revaluation, described in paragraph 6, above, including the building cost schedules themselves. However, the respondent does not maintain any backup data evidencing how the building cost schedules were derived.
8. It is also found that the revaluation company likewise does not maintain any backup data of the nature sought by the complainants.
9. The complainants assert that pursuant to 12-62(c), G.S, the respondent is required to maintain the requested backup data and is therefore required to provide access to it under the Freedom of Information Act.
10. Section 12-62(c), G.S., provides:
"...during a period of not less than twelve months immediately following the date on which [a] revaluation becomes effective, any criteria, guidelines, price schedules or statement of procedures used in such revaluation by the assessors or any revaluation company shall be available for public inspection in the assessor's office in such municipality in the manner provided for public records in subsection (a) of section 1-19...."
11. Although it is astonishing that neither the respondent nor the revaluation company maintained backup data to support the building cost schedules, there is no evidence that such records exist.
12. It is also found that nothing in the Freedom of Information Act mandates the degree and content of information that a municipality must maintain for public inspection in accordance with the provisions of 12-62(c), G.S., nor can the Commission order the respondent to disclose records that do not exist.
13. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the provisions of 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainants with the requested backup data, described in paragraph 5, above.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
Docket #FIC 94-34 Page 3
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 14, 1994.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
JOSEPH A. SIMMONS, JR. and BEVERLY SIMMONS
c/o Jane W. Freeman, Esq.
Pavetti & Freeman
83 Huntington Street
P.O. Box 829
New London, CT 06320
c/o James Armentano, Esq.
130 Washington Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission