How long does it take to become a foster/adoptive parent?It typically takes a family between three and four months to become an approved foster/adoptive parent after completing all in-service training. The time can vary depending on how quickly families complete the requirements.
Would a child's biological family be involved while a child is living in my home?Yes, in most circumstances a child’s family remains involved with their child while they are in foster care. Department of Social Service Family Service Specialists will help coordinate contact and visits. Regular contact with their biological families is very important. Foster parents have a big role in supporting a child’s connection with their family.
How long is temporary?
A child’s stay in foster care may be as short as overnight or may be much longer. Some children in foster care become permanent members of a family or are adopted. Each child’s journey is unique but is important to understand that the goal of foster care is for a child to be reunified with his family.
What is the goal of foster care?The goal of foster care is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing temporary home and services for children who cannot presently remain in their own home.
Who are foster children?The children range in age from newborn to 18 years. The majority of the children we work with have experienced abuse and neglect. Many of them also may have emotional issues, behavioral problems, school difficulties, developmental delays, or are members of sibling groups who need to stay together. These children represent a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. There is a specific need for foster homes for children ages 7 and older.
How do I become a Foster Parent?Contact the Foster Parent Trainer by phone or e-mail and introduce yourself. You will then be invited to attend an orientation session that will give you a brief overview of the process and our program. After attending orientation and completing an application you will be required to complete 27 hours of pre-service training. During the pre-service training you will meet with a Family Assessment Specialist to complete a home study and other required paperwork.
Who are Foster Parents?Foster Parents can be single adults and/or married couples. They are financially stable, have adequate bedroom space and meet all state required criminal clearances. They have a love of children and believe in the unique potential of every child. They provide children with guidance, structure, supervision, safety, and discipline. Foster parents appreciate being part of a supportive system of other parents and professionals working together to changes the lives of children.
Is the purpose of CPS to take children out of the home?In accordance with the Code of Virginia, Social Services also provides foster care prevention/ongoing Child Protective Services. The purpose of this unit is to provide services to prevent further abuse or neglect of a child and to prevent the removal of the child from his/her home. If your family has been referred to ongoing/prevention services one of the following has occurred:
You have voluntarily agreed to work with Social Services to find parenting solutions.
A family assessment has been completed with your family.
A CPS investigation has been completed with your family.
There is a current Court Order indicating that Social Services shall provide services to your family.
There are risk factors and concerns that have been identified surrounding the children and caretakers in your home/family.
There are risk factors that indicate your child is at risk of abuse or neglect or your child is at risk of removal from your home.
Prevention services will work in partnership with the family and other community resources to identify specific behaviors and environmental conditions that need to change to prevent further abuse or neglect and to provide a safe environment for the family and their children).
Does CPS provide foster Care Services?The CPS unit also provides foster care prevention services to families referred by the community and by Court Order. In addition, the CPS unit attempts outreach to prevent child abuse or neglect by addressing risk issues before they result in maltreatment of children.
What system is in place to protect children?CPS utilizes a Differential Response System. Once an incoming call/referral is determined to be valid, the Differential Response then helps the local agency determine if the referral will be a Family Assessment or an Investigation. The Structured Decision Making tool helps staff determine if the valid concern should be a Family Assessment or an Investigation. The Family Assessment process is service oriented, strength based and non-punitive. The Investigation Process determines if abuse or neglect have occurred and makes a finding of Founded or Unfounded. During both a Family Assessment and Investigation, safety of the child is addressed as well as risk of future harm.
What happens when a concern is reported to a local agency?When concerns are reported to the local agency, staff have to first determine if the concerns reported are valid (need attention) or invalid (do not meet criteria for agency follow through). Staff use SDM to assist in making this decision.
In the instance of a traffic stop, should I advise the police officer that I have a concealed handgun permit?Virginia law does not require you to notify the officer that you have a permit. However, Section 18.2-308.01, of the Code of Virginia, requires you to be in possession of the permit whenever you are carrying a concealed handgun and to display the permit and a government-issued photo-identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer.
I am a new resident to Virginia and possess a concealed handgun permit issued by a permit-reciprocal state. Will my permit still be honored in Virginia?A permit issued by a state in which Virginia has established concealed handgun permit reciprocity or recognition will be honored in Virginia as long as the permit remains valid regardless of the change of address. It is suggested that you confirm the validity of the permit with the issuing agency in this instance.
Are military personnel considered residents or nonresidents for the purpose of a concealed handgun permit?Active military personnel, 21 years of age and older, assigned to a Virginia duty post or the Pentagon may apply for a Virginia resident permit, which are issued by the circuit court of the county or city in which the applicant resides. Virginia Code Section 18.2-308.02 (B.5.) authorizes current military service to be considered proof that the applicant has demonstrated competence with a handgun.
The address on my Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permit is no longer correct. Is my permit still valid?Yes. Virginia Code Section 18.2-308.06, which governs the issuance of nonresident concealed handgun permits, makes no provisions for changes of address. A permit once issued remains valid until the expiration date is met, or upon suspension or revocation, regardless of the change of address. However, the Virginia State Police will issue change of address cards upon request. Holders of nonresident permits are requested to notify the Virginia State Police, Firearms Transaction Center (FTC) in writing at P.O. Box 85141, Richmond, VA, 23285-5141 or on-line at email@example.com. Additional information is available at http://www.vsp.virginia.gov/Firearms_NonresidentConcealed.shtm.
The address on my Resident Concealed Handgun Permit is no longer correct. Is my permit still valid?Yes, but you may request a replacement permit if you wish. The clerk of a circuit court that issued a valid concealed handgun permit shall, upon presentation of the valid permit and proof of a new address of residence by the permit holder, issue a replacement permit specifying the permit holder's new address. See 18.2-308.011.
Are Virginia concealed handgun permits issued to non-Virginia residents?
Is a concealed handgun permit issued in another state valid or recognized in Virginia?States with which Virginia has entered into concealed handgun permit reciprocity agreements, or which Virginia will grant recognition, are listed on our Reciprocity and Recognition page.
Are law enforcement officers subject to the background check when purchasing firearms?Law enforcement offices are not exempt from the federal misdemeanor crime of domestic violence disqualification and therefore, must consent to a background check when purchasing firearms. The exception to this requirement is the purchase of a duty weapon from a licensed firearms dealer on behalf of an Employer’s Certification Letter.
What are the disqualifications for the purchase of a firearm?Please refer to Firearms Purchase Eligibility Test in this web site.
Does one have to have U.S. citizenship to be eligible to purchase a firearm?A buyer who is a lawful permanent resident alien the United States may purchase firearms in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to the same identification and residency requirements as a citizen. Prohibitions apply, however, to "any alien in the United States in a non-immigrant status" with certain exceptions and a waiver process. Contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if you have questions about these regulations.
Why was my firearms purchase application placed in a status of delay?The criminal history record information check required prior to the purchase of a firearm in Virginia is accomplished by a name check in conjunction with the purchaser's race, sex, and date of birth. It is not unusual for a "hit" response to occur upon query the national and state databases due to similar or exact personal descriptors of the prospective purchaser and those listed on an arrest record. When this occurs, review is necessary to determine if the prospective purchaser may be the same individual contained in these files, as well as lawful eligibility if probable identification is determined.
What are the laws concerning the private sale of a handgun?To privately sell a firearm, it is recommended that you safeguard information pertaining to the transaction such as the date the firearm was sold, the complete name and address of the buyer, and the make, model, and serial number of the firearm. The seller and buyer of a handgun must be a resident of the state in which the transfer occurs. Should the firearm ever be located at a crime scene, trace of the firearm will determine the licensed dealer who last sold the firearm and will identify the last buyer of the firearm. To have your name removed from this process, you may consider placing your firearm on consignment with a licensed dealer. This will also ensure that the firearm is transferred only to a lawfully eligible individual.
What is the legal age to purchase ammunition?Virginia law does not address age requirements for the purchase of ammunition. Federal law requires an individual to be at least 21 years of age to purchase handgun ammunition, and at least 18 years old to purchase rifle or shotgun ammunition.
What is the legal age to purchase or possess a firearm?A person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from a licensed firearms dealer. To purchase a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer, you must be at least 21 years of age, pursuant to federal law. For statutory regulations concerning underage persons possessing firearms, refer to Virginia Code Section18.2-308.7, possession or transportation of certain firearms by persons under the age of eighteen.
May I “open carry” a firearm in Virginia?
May I travel through Virginia with a firearm in my vehicle?Please refer to Transporting Firearms through Virginia in this web site.
Are firearms registered in Virginia?With the exception of machine guns, firearms are not registered in Virginia.
What are the laws concerning knives; specifically, the carrying of a non-concealed knife, and are there knife designs, blade sizes, etc., that are prohibited?Virginia Code Section 18.2-311 describes certain weapons, including some knives, which are illegal to possess in Virginia. Additionally, refer to Virginia Code Section 18.2-308 for specific prohibitions concerning concealed weapons. It is suggested that you contact your county or city authorities to inquire as to whether or not there are applicable local ordinances.
Where is the Real Estate Lookup?The Real Estate Lookup is a service offered by our Geographic Information System's Department. To access that application please use this link.
What departments are in the County Administration Building?
The County Administration building is located at 122 East Main Street, Bedford VA 24523, across from the Bedford Courthouse. The Administration Building is the key hub for many governmental functions including:
- Board of Supervisors
- Children Services (a Division of the Department of Bedford Social Services)
- Community Development
- Building Inspections
- Geographic Information's Systems
- Natural Resources
- Planning & Zoning
- Commissioner of Revenue
- Cooperative Extension
- County Attorney
- Economic Development
- Business Assistance
- Fiscal Management
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Public Works
Departments located outside the County Administration Offices:
- Central Garage
- Fire & Rescue
- Nursing Home
- Registrar (new location in the Bedford Central Library)
- Parks & Recreation
- Sheriff's Office
- E911 Dispatch Communications (located below the Sheriff's Department)
- Social Services
- Domestic Violence
- Waste Management/Solid Waste
What is the Administration Building mailing address?
What is the Administration physical address?The County Administration building is located at 122 East Main Street, Bedford VA 24523, across from the Bedford Courthouse. Phone Number: 540-586-7601
Who is eligible for services?Children's Services may be available to a child who meets at least (1) of the following descriptions:
- Youth who require private placement for special education.
- Youth who are in foster care or eligible for foster care services.
- Youth who are eligible for services through a Child in Need of Services Parental Agreement.
- Youth who have significant emotional or behavioral problems and may require services not available from our agency, require services of multiple agencies, or may be at risk of residential placement.
What is the Children's Services Process?
Understanding the local Children's SA process:
- You should be given information on the local CSA process and timelines for receiving referrals.
- Your FAPT should notify you before your child is assessed for services.
- You should be able to understand the information you receive and itshould be delivered inyour native language, if possible.
- You are to consent and agree inwriting before beginning any services, except when ordered by court.
- You may have the opportunity to read records, challenge information, give permission for release of records and be provided a written copy of the records unless ordered otherwise by the court.
- You have the ability to receive assistance from someone assigned toyou as the case manager from the FAPT as well as members of your family, friends, advocates or other identified members of your support system.
- You will have the opportunity to review the Individual Family Services Plan.
- You can disagree with any part of the services plan, and you can place your concerns in writing to the FAPT and/or CPMT.
- You are to participate and be present for the entire FAPT meeting to discuss your child and family's situation,as well as participate in decision that apply to you and your family.
- You should be given information on the local CSA process and timelines for receiving referrals.
How does Children's Services work?
Once a FAPT meeting is scheduled:
- The child and family take an active part of the FAPT meeting to discuss their needs.
- A service plan is developed.
- The family signs the service plan, if they agree with the plan.
- Services begin as soon as possible.
- If the family disagrees with the plan, they may ask for a review with the local CPMT.
- Emergency Services may begin immediately, if needed
- Parents will be screened and may be required to make co-payments for non-foster care services
- Parents may be required to make child support payments for foster care services
- Parents are not required to make co-payments for special education services.
Who is involved in Children's Services?
Community Policy and Management Team
Community Policy & Management Team (CPMT) help coordinates agency efforts, manages the available funds, and sees that eligible youth and their families are referred to appropriate services.
Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT)
FAPT looks at the strengths and needs of the youth and families; works with the families; recommends services; and prepares a services plan that is agreed upon by the family and professionals.
The local government appoints team members from the following: COV(2.2-5204)
- One elected or appointed official or designee
- Local Agency Heads or their designee from Community Services Board, Court Services Unit, Department of Social Services, Department of Health, and Department of Education
- Private Provider (if in locality)
- A local government official
- A local law enforcement official
- Representative of other public agencies
What are the reasons my ballot would not be counted?Required information is missing on Envelope B. No signature on Envelope B. No witness signature. Ballots are improperly marked. Ballot was received after Election day.
How is my ballot counted?All absentee ballots are counted Election Day at the Central Abesentee Precinct (CAP) located in the Bedford Central Library, 321 North Bridge Street, Suite 200 Bedford. All absentee ballots must be received at the location before 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election.
When will I get my ballot?Ballots are mailed 45 days before each general election. When applications are received during the 45 days prior to the election, the ballots are mailed the next business day after the application is received.
Can I transfer my registration from another state?No. To vote in Virginia, you must register to vote in Virginia.
What should I do if I have changed my name or my local address since the last election?You must inform the registrar's office in writing or in person.
What must I do if I move to another city or county within Virginia?Complete a new voter registration application in person, by mail, or online if you have a Virginia DMV license or ID card. You may also make changes on the back of your voter card and mail it into the registrar's office in the city or county in which you are registered. You may also change your address when you change your information at the Division of Motor Vehicles by completing the voter registration portion of the application.
Do I have to register for each election?No. As long as you do not move, your registration qualifies you to vote in all elections held in the precinct where you live.
Is there a residency requirement for voter registration?You must be a resident of Virginia and must be registered at least 21 days prior to an election to be eligible to vote in that election. A person who has come to Virginia for temporary purposes and intends to return to another state is not considered a resident for voting purposes.
Do I have to register by party?No. Virginia is a non-partisan state. You do not register by party.
When can I register to vote?You can register to vote any time of the year except 21 days before an election.
Where do I register to vote?
Voter registration applications are available at:
*Voter Registration Offices in Virginia
*Government Agencies in Virginia, including:
- Post Offices
- Public Libraries
- Division of Motor Vehicles locations
- Social Services
How do I register to Vote?Registering to vote is a uniform procedure statewide. You must complete a Virginia Voter Registration Application or a National Voter Registration Application. Forms are accepted in person, by mail, or online if you have a Virginia DMV license or ID card. You may also download the proper form from the state forms website and mail it in. Once your application is processed, you will be mailed a voter information notice which tells you where to vote on election day.
What is the process from here?
Upon approval by both the City and County, the negotiated settlement agreement will be forwarded to the Virginia Commission on Local Government. The Commission will review the proposed reversion in accordance with State Law (15.2-2907). The Commission will meet with City and County representatives. The process will also include oral presentations and a public hearing. Once completed, the Commission’s report is submitted to a special three-judge court. This report is non-binding and advisory in nature.
Following completion of the Commission’s report, the City may petition the circuit court by ordinance for an order granting the town status. This ordinance must be published in accordance with requirements outlined in state code (15.2-4101 and 15.2-4201). The Virginia Supreme Court would then convene the special three-judge court.
If the court finds the criteria for reversion have been satisfied, an order will be entered granting town status. This order will specify the effective date of the transition. The process should take approximately 18 months.
What election district will Town residents vote in?Upon reversion, County electoral districts will have to be re-drawn to include Town residents. At that time, voter cards will be issued advising of the new districts.
How was the amount of the County’s annual payment to the City determined?The annual payment directed to the Town approximates the funding currently contributed to the City under the existing Revenue Sharing Agreement. In this way, it essentially maintains the status quo as to payments between the jurisdictions.
Can you explain the “incentive payment?”
Under State Code, counties that absorb cities that revert to towns receive additional state aid for education. This funding is based upon the lower ability to pay calculation of the town or county. As a result, the County should receive approximately $4,000,000 in additional aid. This funding is NOT GUARANTEED and must be approved by the General Assembly in their biennial budget(s).
The agreement calls for the County to pay to the Town $11,250,000 in exchange for the Library, Welcome Center and Bedford Elementary School. These payments will be made annually for fifteen (15) years. However, should the General Assembly not authorize-- or reduce-- the additional aid in a given year, the payment from the County to the Town would be reduced as well.
Does the County assume any of the City/town’s debt?No.
What will happen with schools?
Upon reverting to a Town, the City School Board will cease to exist. All school services will be provided by the Bedford County School Board. In the agreement, the County agrees to begin consideration of a new middle school facility. In the interim, the County will lease the existing Bedford Middle School. The lease payments increase significantly in the out years so as to encourage a speedy resolution of this matter.
Ownership of the Bedford Elementary School will transfer to the County upon the effective date of reversion.
Will the Town have a land use assessment and taxation ordinance?Yes. The settlement requires that the Town enact a land use program that is applicable to areas within the Town as well as any area that is subsequently incorporated into the Town’s boundaries.
The agreement speaks to boundary adjustments. Can you summarize those?
The agreement allows for three (3) phases of boundary adjustments. In the first phase, the Town boundaries will be expanded upon reversion to incorporate areas; primarily those that currently lie within “revenue sharing areas.” More specifically this includes the area in the vicinity of Wal-Mart and Lowes on 460 East, and 460 West to the Rhinos.
The second phase of Town boundary growth will occur if/when a joint water and sewer authority is formed and rates are equalized for town and county residents and business/industry or after a period of 10 years—whichever comes first (equalized rates or 10 years). However, if no such joint authority is created within one year of reversion no such boundary changes can occur.
The third phase of Town boundary growth is contingent upon development that is sufficiently dense as to lend itself to having the “feel” of a Town development and must be contiguous to existing Town boundaries.
Why are boundary adjustments part of the settlement?Virginia State law currently prohibits Cities from annexing land in surrounding counties. No such prohibition exists for Towns. By incorporating certain boundary adjustments into the settlement, the Town and County ensure sufficient capacity for growth and thus a sustainable and economically viable Town. In the absence of the proposed boundary adjustments and negotiated prohibition on Town annexation, future Town growth cannot be properly planned in such a way as to mitigate any negative outcomes for the County.
Won’t this amount to double taxation?Upon reversion, all Town residents will be County citizens. All county properties will be taxed at the same rate (currently $0.50/$100 for real estate). This revenue will be applied toward the provision of county services. Any tax levied by the Town would be applied toward urban services and programs that the Town seeks to offer “over and above” those available to County residents.
Will my taxes go up after reversion?
Upon reversion, the approximately 7,000 individuals residing in the Town will be County residents. Properties located in the Town will be taxed at the prevailing County rate(s). In addition, properties located within the Town will also be taxed by the Town Council.
Both the City/Town and County are deeply invested in mitigating any tax impacts to our residents.
Why don’t the citizens get to vote on this?Under State Code the City has initiated this reversion process. This is different from a citizen-initiated transition. While the question will not go forward as a referendum, citizens will be afforded the opportunity to share comment with the Commission on Local Government and the appointed three judge panel prior to formal authorization of the reversion agreement.
Why is the City reverting?Under State Code, cities with populations under 50,000 may initiate a reversion. The specific rationale for doing so may differ. The City’s expressed intent of reversion is to better facilitate sound economic development in and around the city/town in a way that enhances the County and city/town.
If I see incorrect information concerning map data or real estate data on the public GIS site, who do I contact?If the issue is with the representation of a feature on a map(for example, you think a parcel is not located properly), then you can send an e-mail to the GIS Department here, or you can call GIS staff at 540.587.5677 or 540.587.5678. If your issue is with the related information of a property(ownership, assessment, improvements, etc.) then call the Real Estate Office at 540.586.7621.
How can I view aerial imagery? Do you have aerial imagery for different years?Aerial imagery for the County is available on the Public Parcel Viewer. Imagery is available for 2011, 2007, and 2002.
How can I get help using the public GIS site?
How often is the public GIS site updated?Currently the County does not have a fixed schedule for updating property information for the public GIS. We hope to have a schedule in the near future. For now, the public GIS is updated at least once a month.
How do I report a street sign that needs to be repaired or replaced?Call 540.587.5678 to report street name signs which are missing or need to be repaired. If you leave a message, please give your name and phone number in case we have follow-up questions.
What is the process for changing a street name?Requests to have an approved street name changed are submitted to the Department of Community Development. After the application is processed, it is submitted to the Board of Supervisors for consideration. 60% of the real property owners along the street must sign a petition in agreement with the request. All costs associated with the street name change will be paid by the petitioners. Call 540.587.5678 to request an application and petition form.
May I name my private driveway?Driveways are not named unless they meet the definition of a “street.” In the County Code, a street is defined as “Road, highway, boulevard, way, circle, lane and other words typically used to indicate a traveled way, either public or private, for vehicles along which there are three (3) or more structures or separate lots or tracts of land.”
What is the process for obtaining an address for a modular or manufactured home?An address for a modular or manufactured home is assigned after the home is set on the foundation and the driveway is graveled. Since these types of structures generally get set up quickly and have fewer on-site inspections than a site-built home, we ask you to call 540.587.5678 to make us aware that you are ready for the address to be assigned. The address is assigned while your contractor is completing the set up.
Town of Bedford Comprehensive Plan
Proposed by the Town Planning Commission June 8, 2017
6/20/2017 06:09 AM
Friends of Bedford Library Concert
The concert, held in the Bedford Room of Bedford Central Library is open to the public, Tickets can be purchased in advance from Lynchburg Tickets.
6/16/2017 12:56 PM
Board of Supervisors Update
Board of Supervisors Update
5/31/2017 01:30 PM
The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of Bedford County under the Virginia Freedom of Information ActThe Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
YOUR FOIA RIGHTS
- You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
- You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
- If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA. Alternatively, you may contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion. MAKING A REQUEST FOR RECORDS FROM BEDFORD COUNTY
Before making a FOIA request, please scroll past the contact information below to read information regarding making a FOIA request (associated costs, types of records available, exemptions, etc.)
- You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone. FOIA does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA. Please Note: With the exception of the Commonwealth Attorney’s office, if you are making a FOIA request for information from a Constitutional Officer’s office (Treasurer, Commissioner of the Revenue, Sheriff or Clerk of the Circuit Court), you will need to contact that office directly (contact information given below).
- To request records from Bedford County or the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, you may direct your request to the FOIA Officer, Brigitte Luckett. She can be reached by phone at 540-586-7601; by email firstname.lastname@example.org; by fax at 540-586-0406; or in writing at Bedford County Administration Office, Attn: Brigitte Luckett, FOIA Officer, 122 E. Main St., Suite 202, Bedford, VA 24523. You may also contact her with questions you have concerning requesting records from Bedford County.
- To request records from the Sheriff’s Office, you may call 540-586-7827 or follow this link to their FOIA page:http://bedfordcountysheriff.org/citizen-services/police-report-request-form/
- To request records from the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office, you may contact the Commissioner of the Revenue Julie Creasy at 540-586-7621; email email@example.com; fax 540-586-6943; or write to Bedford County Commissioner of the Revenue, Attn: Julie Creasy, 122 E. Main St., Suite 103, Bedford, VA 24523.
- To request records from the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office, you may contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court Cathy Hogan at 540-586-7632; firstname.lastname@example.org; fax 540-586-6197; or write to Bedford County Circuit Court, Attn: Cathy Hogan, Clerk, 123 E. Main St., Suite 201, Bedford, VA 24523.
- To request records from the Treasurer’s Office, please contact Rebecca C. "Becky" Jones, MGT, by email@example.com by writing The Honorable Rebecca C. Jones, Bedford County Treasurer, 122 East Main Street, Suite 101, Bedford, VA 24523-2000. FOIA requests must be made in writing.
In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.
- You are required to provide your name and legal address.
- From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to create a record of your request. It also gives us a clear statement of what records you are requesting, so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request. However, we cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect to not put it in writing.
· Your request must identify the records you are seeking with "reasonable specificity." This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires that you be specific enough so that we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
· Your request must ask for existing records or documents. FOIA gives you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of Bedford County, nor does it require Bedford County to create a record that does not exist.
· You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by Bedford County in the regular course of business.
- For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records
· If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with staff's efforts to clarify the type of records that you are seeking, or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a large request. Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking.
BEDFORD COUNTY’S RESPONSIBILITIES IN RESPONDING TO YOUR REQUEST
- Bedford County must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it. "Day One" is considered the day after your request is received. The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays.
- You do not have to state why you want the records before we respond to your request. FOIA does, however, allow Bedford County to require you to provide your name and legal address; the FOIA process is not available to non-residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- The County is not obligated to compile information or reports that are not in existence.
- FOIA requires that Bedford County make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period (not including holidays or weekends):
- We provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.
- We withhold all of the records that you have requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption. If all of the records are being withheld, we must send you a response in writing. That writing must identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld, and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows us to withhold the records.
- We provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records. We cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption. In that instance, we may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record. We must provide you with a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows portions of the requested records to be withheld.
- We inform you in writing that the requested records cannot be found or do not exist (we do not have the records you want). However, if we know that another public body has the requested records, we must include contact information for the other public body in our response to you.
- If it is practically impossible for Bedford County to respond to your request within the five-day period, we must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow us seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving us a total of 12 working days to respond to your request.
- If you make a request for a very large number of records, and we feel that we cannot provide the records to you within 12 working days without disrupting our other organizational responsibilities, we may petition the court for additional time to respond to your request. However, FOIA requires that we make a reasonable effort to reach an agreement with you concerning the production or the records before we go to court to ask for more time.
- A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of §2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia. (Please note that the charges for requests made to Constitutional Officers may differ from those listed below.)
- Black and White Copies: $0.10/page (double-sided printing)
- Color Copies: $0.15/page (double-sided printing)
- CD’s: $0.50/disc
- Staff Time: Depends on which department is fulfilling the request and the length of time needed to complete the request (no charge for staff time if it takes less than two hours to fulfill the request)
- You may have to pay for the records that you request from Bedford County. FOIA allows us to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests. This would include items like staff time spent searching for the requested records, copying costs, or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records. It cannot include general overhead costs.
- If we estimate that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, we may require you to pay a deposit, not to exceed the amount of the estimate, before proceeding with your request. The five days that we have to respond to your request does not include the time between when we ask for a deposit and when you respond.
- You may request that we estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested. This will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.
- If you owe us money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, Bedford County may require payment of the past-due bill before it will respond to your new FOIA request. TYPES OF RECORDS The following is a general description of the types of records held by Bedford County:
- Law enforcement records and other records of both internal and external investigations
- Building, planning, transportation, and other community development records
- Social service records
- Agendas, agenda items, minutes, and other records of the meetings of the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, and other governmental bodies appointed by the Board of Supervisors
- Records of the County Fleet of vehicles, solid waste management, and security management
- Records related to Parks & Recreation and services offered by that Department
- Library records
- Information System Technology records
- Tax and licensing records
- Personnel records concerning employees and officials of the County
- Records of contracts which the County has entered into
- Budget records
- Records showing receipts and expenditures of the County
- Real estate records, such as leases, easements, deeds, and records related to the acquisition or sale of such property. These records may be paper records, electronic files or audio recordings. If you are unsure whether Bedford County has the record(s) you seek, please contact the FOIA Officer directly by calling 540-586-7601; by email at email@example.com; by fax at 540-586-0406; or in writing at Bedford County Administration Office, Attn: Brigitte Luckett, FOIA Officer, 122 E. Main St., Suite 202, Bedford, VA 24523.
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. Bedford County commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:
- Requests by persons incarcerated in a state, local or federal correctional facility (§2.2-373(C))
- Personnel records (§2.2-3705.1 (1) of the Code of Virginia)
- Records subject to attorney-client privilege (§ 2.2-3705.1 (2)) or attorney work product (§2.2-3705.1 (3))
- Tests or examinations used, administered or prepared for purposes of evaluation of any employee or employment seeker’s qualifications or aptitude for employment, retention, or promotion, or qualifications for any license or certificate (§2.2-3705.1(4))
- Vendor proprietary information (§2.2-3705.1 (6))
- Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded (§2.2-3705.1 (12))
- Plans and information to prevent or respond to terrorist activity, the disclosure of which would jeopardize the safety of any person (§2.2-3706(F)(1))
- Records of criminal investigations (§2.2-3706(A)(2)(a))
- Tax records (§58.1-3)
- Health records (§ 2.2-3705.5(1))
- Appraisals and cost estimates of real property subject to a proposed sale, purchase, or lease (§2.2-3705.1 (8)
- Social service records (§63.2-102 through §63.2-105)
Since exemptions exist in order to protect some compelling public interest (such as privacy of individuals, criminal investigations, or the County’s bargaining position in an on-going negotiation or discussion), it is inevitable that the County will need to rely on exemptions in many cases. For that reason, it is the County’s practice to invoke all exemptions that are applicable to any request for records. This practice ensures that we treat all citizens the same way, to the greatest extent possible.