Filing a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Request
FOIL requests are also known as Public Information requests. These requests are governed by New York State's "Freedom of Information Law" (§§84-90 of the Public Officers Law).
Cattaraugus County has an Application for Public Access to Records for such requests. Please fill out the form and either:
- drop the form off to the Clerk's Office in Little Valley
- fax the form to us at 716-938-2773 or
- email the form to us at foil [at] cattco [dot] org or use the online form for digital records
Every request must be originally signed in ink. We cannot accept FOIL requests by fax. Please see below for information about FOIL requests by email.
It is very important that you fully describe the records you are seeking. Another critical issue is whether you seek access to the records you describe, or wish to pay for copies (normally 25¢ per page). You also may choose to find out how many pages of information are available before you make this decision. Finally, it is important that you tell us which County department holds the records you are seeking.
New York State's Committee on Open Government has more information on this subject: http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/Right_to_know.html.
FOIL Requests by Email
Cattaraugus County now accepts Public Information ("FOIL") requests by email (use our online form). Where the records exist in electronic form, and no FOIL exemptions apply, these records will be emailed back to you along with our response. Please be aware that most County records do not exist in electronic form, and that you still may have to select whether to inspect the records in person at no charge or to have copies made for 25 cents per page.
Address your email FOIL request to foil [at] cattco [dot] org and be sure to include the words "FOIL Request" in the message's subject line. Please include the following information:
- As much detail about the record as possible, such as relevant dates, names, descriptions, etc.;
- Which department of Cattaraugus County government holds the records you are seeking;
- If part or all of the records cannot be emailed, whether you would prefer to have copies made at 25 cents per page, or prefer to inspect the records first and determine which records you desire to have copied;
- If the volume of electronic records is so large that these cannot be emailed, whether you would prefer copies at 25 cents per page or would want such electronic records written onto a CD-ROM to be created at a cost of approximately $1.00 per CD-ROM and
- A telephone number where you can be reached to discuss your request if necessary.
PLEASE NOTE: The FOIL process cannot be used for County Clerk records (court records, and deeds and mortgages). At this time, the County Clerk records are accessible by making a request in person.