“It is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person.” (Florida Statutes, §119.01(1).)

Florida law regarding public records of Florida state agencies is contained in Florida Statutes, Chapter 119 . Public records are defined as “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.”

The Lee County Property Appraiser Public Record Request policy exists to inform citizens about their rights to obtain public records and the process to follow when making such requests to our office.

A. Requesting Public Records

Requests for public records can be made in person or by mail to the Lee County Property Appraiser, 2480 Thompson Street, 4th Floor, Fort Myers, Florida (mailing address: P.O. Box 1546, Fort Myers, FL 33902), or by telephone at (239) 533-6100, or by e-mail to: publicrecords@leepa.org.

B. Costs

There may be cost associated with obtaining public records.

The Lee County Property Appraiser’s office will provide the facilities to view public records that are maintained by us. Unless copies of records are requested or extensive data processing services are required, there will be no charge associated with this service.

For copies of reports, faxes, and other hard copy documents the cost is $.15 per single sided page or $.20 per double sided page, up to legal (8.5” x 14”) paper size. For all other materials, the cost will be the actual cost of duplicating the public record. Note that certain items, such as maps and aerial photographs, are readily available at the Data and Map Sales page on the Lee County Property Appraiser website.

If the amount of time needed to satisfy a public records request exceeds one hour, a fee will be charged equal to the hourly rate of the person doing the work.

If extensive data processing and/or clerical assistance is needed the statute also allows for a special service charge to recover for such extensive use of personnel and information technology resources.

C. What Information Is Available

Any document, whether physical or electronic, that is created in connection with the transaction of official business by the Lee County Property Appraiser’s office is subject to public records disclosure, unless it is exempt by law as described below.

Please remember that in order for us to furnish a public record it must be one that this office maintains. If a record exists, the public has a right view it and obtain a copy, if desired. As long as it is a record we maintain (and is not otherwise exempt) we will make it available in response to a public records request.

A vast majority of our public record information is freely available on our website, www.leepa.org. Before making a public records request, be sure to check our website and the wide array of reports and record searches it provides.

D. Exempt Information

Certain kinds of public records, or portions thereof, are exempt from public records disclosure. Also, as a general rule exempt documents and information normally associated with most exempt records are not published on the Internet. Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, contains detailed information regarding the specific types of information that is exempt and cannot be provided in response to a public records request.

Note: This policy is not a comprehensive interpretation nor is it meant to replace or provide a legal opinion regarding Florida Statutes. Please contact the Lee County Property Appraiser’s office with any questions regarding the availability of or obtaining public records.

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