Kissimmee, Florida by the Numbers
Tell us about your City:
We were founded in 1883, it’s 15 miles south of Orlando on the edge of Lake Tohopekaliga. Since the 2010 census, the population grew by 26% and 74,800 residents currently live in Kissimmee, Florida. Our leadership is focused on strategic growth, investments in infrastructure, recreation, ecotourism, and conservation. Shingle Creek is the headwaters to the Everglades, and Lake Toho runs down to the Okeechobee River.
Which City Departments use JustFOIA?
We are focused on a single message to the public that by visiting our site, this landing page provides access to any document within the City by submitting a new request, searching the archive, or tracking an existing request.
The City has 11 departments, of which every department is using JustFOIA. During our quarterly Records Committee meeting, one staff from each department attends to share information like retention schedules that are changing, or topics related to public records. We want each department to have access to enter each public records requests when received in their offices. The public records laws now require us to post the custodian of records information. If they don’t make the request to the City Clerk, then the department is not responsible for responding to the request. If we don’t respond within five days, we must be given notice and then we can potentially be sued. We have a legal notice on our office wall that states, “If you do not make the request to the custodian of records, you cannot sue us.” Florida statute 119.01 is the general state policy regarding public records.
Requests can be made anonymous as well. JustFOIA provides a request number and security key for this reason. Citizens can receive what they want without having anyone knowing what or why they requested information.
Another pain point was the amount of paper we had to process. Our goal is to go paperless. Now, we can import everything to JustFOIA. We no longer need to print response documents to mail, upload to Dropbox or an FTP site. The requester can access everything through the system with their pin number, provided at the time of the request.
Types of Requests Processed Frequently:
Share a Records Requests Story:
We responded to a certificate of occupancy request for over 400 residents. Around the same time, another request was submitted for all meeting minutes from 2012 to 2019. We charged a fee for our staff’s time because there was a lot of work involved in gathering electronic records. Thankfully, our agenda and minutes are done electronically. We do print out the minutes for final approval, so we always have a hard copy as well. If it takes more than 30 minutes to process a response, we will charge for a PRR request.
We use Laserfiche as our content services platform to manage electronic records. We receive recurring requests for building permits that were issued in a specific month. Now, the team is trained on how to use JustFOIA. A task gets assigned to them and we can attach the document directly to the response document. When we respond to the citizen, it’s all electronic.
How do you Manage Redactions?
We use Laserfiche redaction. One time, our police department challenged the security of a redacted document. We provided a redacted record from Laserfiche and they sent it off to an acquaintance at the FBI. He was not able to see the information. From that point on, our staff was officially converted as believers in redaction. That’s powerful.
Which Feature Improve your Work Process?
The ability to set up different templates for responses is great. If we find ourselves sending the same emails repeatedly, we set up another template. I can cut and paste the information to add to a template. We even created a templated email to notify requesters that records are not located in their office and provide instructions on how to submit a request with an outside agency.
We pride ourselves on our level of customer service and believe in making it easy for those that we serve.
See the City of Kissimmee's Public Records Process:
JustFOIA Manages Lien Search Requests
Managing lien searches. We are no longer forced to manage spreadsheets and to process requests with paper. The tracking has improved immensely. Now, we can search to see what’s been provided in the past so we prevent duplication of our efforts. We can see what was provided, rather than looking at the excel spreadsheet and then searching to find that information in Laserfiche. Before we didn’t have to keep copies of the information we sent out – now, I can see attachments for every completed request.
“Before JustFOIA, we logged requests in an excel spreadsheet and only one person could access it at a time. Now, we have the flexibility to assign the request to someone and keep track of the status at any point to see the progress.“