Bulletin 2005/06 – 45 October 21, 2005
On October 3, 2005, the State Attorney General’s Office released a legal opinion concluding that a parcel boundary map is required to be released to the public for copying and inspection and the assessor must provide this information as promptly as possible in an electronic format (if the data is held in that matter) and can charge only a fee that covers the direct cost of producing that copy or a fee set by statute.
The entire opinion in PDF format is available on the Attorney General’s website, or by using the following link http://caag.state.ca.us/opinions/published/04-1105.pdf (PDF)
1. According to the AG opinion, a parcel boundary map (and the incorporated information) is geographic data held by the county assessor subject to processing and manipulation, not a software application that could be “run” to generate geographic data and information which would therefore be exempt from disclosure and release to the public.
2. The parcel boundary map data is a public document under the Public Records Act and parcel boundary map data held in electronic format is subject to inspection and copying.
3. The parcel boundary map data must be provided in an electronic format to the public once the county assessor has actually compiled this information and data in an electronic format. However, an assessor is not required to compile parcel boundary map data in an electronic format under any state law.\
4. The county assessor is required to “make the records promptly available to any person upon payment of fees covering direct costs of duplication, or a statutory fee if applicable.”