Financial Transparency


Open Records Request

​Public Information Act

Texas Public Information Act (formerly Open Records Act)

The Texas Public Information Act (Texas Open Records Act), Chapter 552, Texas Government Code, establishes requirements for governmental bodies to respond to written requests for access and/or reproductions of public information. Charges for reproductions are governed by the State of Texas General Services Commission rules on charges.

2012 Public Information Handbook
https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/
https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/faq/og-frequently-asked-questions#pia

The Public Information Act

Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives you the right to access government records; and an officer for public information and the officer's agent may not ask why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information. Governmental bodies shall promptly release requested information that is not confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision, or information for which an exception to disclosure has not been sought.

Rights of Requestors

You have the right to:

  • Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;
  • Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements;
  • Receive certain kinds of information without exceptions, like the voting record of public officials, and other information;
  • Receive a written itemized statement of estimated charges, when charges will exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to modify the request in response to the itemized statement;
  • Choose whether to inspect the requested information (most often at no charge), receive copies of the information or both;
  • waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits the general public;
  • Receive a copy of the communication from the governmental body asking the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions, or if the communication discloses the requested information, a redacted copy;
  • Lodge a written complaint about overcharges for public information with the General Services Commission. Complaints of other possible violations may be filed with the county or district attorney of the county where the governmental body, other than a state agency, is located. If the complaint is against the county or district attorney, the complaint must be filed with the Office of the Attorney General.

 Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies

All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:

  • Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying public information and inform requestors of these procedures;
  • Treat all requestors uniformly and shall give to the requestor all reasonable comfort and facility, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;
  • Be informed about open records laws and educate employees on the requirements of those laws;
  • Inform requestors of the estimated charges greater than $40 and any changes in the estimates above 20 percent of the original estimate, and confirm that the requestor accepts the charges, or has amended the request, in writing before finalizing the request;
  • Inform the requestor if the information cannot be provided promptly and set a date and time to provide it within a reasonable time;
  • Request a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding any information the governmental body wishes to withhold, and send a copy of the request for ruling, or a redacted copy, to the requestor;
  • Segregate public information from information that may be withheld and provide that public information promptly;
  • Make a good faith attempt to inform third parties when their proprietary information is being requested from the governmental body;
  • Respond in writing to all written communications from the General Services Commission regarding charges for the information. Respond to the Office of the Attorney General regarding complaints about violations of the Act.

Procedures to Obtain Information

A. Information to be released

  • You may review it promptly, and if it cannot be produced within 10 working days the public information officer will notify you in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available.
  • Keep all appointments to inspect records and to pick up copies. Failure to keep appointments may result in losing the opportunity to inspect the information at the time requested.

B. Cost of Records

  • You may review it promptly, and if it cannot be produced within 10 working days the public information officer will notify you in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available.
  • If estimated costs exceed $100.00 (or $50.00 if a governmental body has fewer than 16 full time employees) the governmental body may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.
  • You may ask the governmental body to determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
  • Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges. A governmental body can demand payment of overdue balances exceeding $100.00, or obtain a security deposit, before processing additional requests from you.

Charges for providing copies of public information

C. Information that may be withheld due to an exception

  • By the 10th business day after a governmental body receives your written request, a governmental body must:
    • Request an Attorney General opinion and state which exceptions apply;
    • Notify the requestor of the referral to the Attorney General; and
    • Notify third parties if the request involves their proprietary information.
  • Failure to request an Attorney General opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business days will result in a presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it.
  • Requestors may send a letter to the Attorney General arguing for release, and may review arguments made by the governmental body. If the arguments disclose the requested information, the requestor may obtain a redacted copy.
  • The Attorney General must issue a decision no later than the 45th working day from the day after the attorney general received the request for a decision. The attorney general may request an additional 10 working day extension.

Rules for Charges for Access to Open Records, by the Texas General Services Commission 

How to submit an Open Records Request

  • All Open Records requests MUST be in writing.
  • A written request should:
    • reasonably identify the records needed/requested;
    • include mailing address, phone number, or other means to contact you regarding your request.
  • There is NOT a specific form required for submitting requests, but one is provided below for your convenience if you would like to use it.

Requests may be submitted by any of the means indicated below:

​Email

Online Form

​Write or Type

​ Email:openrecords@dallascityhall.com

Click on the link and describe in the email the information you want from the City and your request will be processed when the Open Records Project Manager receives your email.

​Use the online form to submit your request directly to the Open Records Project Manager.

​Write or type your request using the printable form provided below or use any sheet of paper and send your request via FAX, US Postal System, or bring your request to our office in person.

  • Request Form (Word doc)
  • Fax to:
    FAX #: 214-670-0160
    Dallas City Hall
    Public Information Office
    Attn. Open Records Project Manager
  • Mail to:
    Dallas City Hall
    Public Information Office
    Attn. Open Records Project Manager
    1500 Marilla, 4ES.
    Dallas, Texas 75201