What is public information?

Definition of Public Information (summarized): Information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by a governmental body or for a governmental body and the latter owns the information or has a right of access to it.

Where is more information available on the Texas Public Information Act?

For additional information on the Texas Public Information Act, visit the Texas Attorney General's website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

How do I make a request?

According to the Public Information Act, requests must be in writing. You may submit your request at abilenetxopenrecords.nextrequest.com. You may also submit your request in person at City Secretary’s Office, 555 Walnut Street, Abilene, TX 79604, or via fax: (325) 676-6439. However, using the online request system is most recommended.

What are the advantages of using the on-line request system?

The on-line request system provides the ability to check on the status of a pending request, review previous requests and examine documents on-line.

How do I know my request was successfully submitted?

Your written request was successfully submitted when you receive a reference number via email or an on-screen prompt.

How will I receive my information?

The department(s) of record will respond to you by the contact method you provided. Information can be sent electronically in some cases. However, if there is a cost associated with your request, payment must first be received.

Will I receive all the information I requested?

You will receive all of the information you have requested if the city maintains records responsive to your request, minus any redaction that is permitted by law.  There are two exceptions: 1) If the City seeks a ruling from the Texas Attorney General regarding all of a portion of the documents responsive to your request, you will receive those documents in accordance with the Attorney General’s ruling.  2)  If the responsive information is voluminous, you may receive an estimate for the cost of copying records instead of immediately receiving the responsive information

What about questions and/or new information?

Requests should be for documents or other information that is already in existence. Under the Texas Public Information Act, the City is not required to answer questions, perform research, compile statistics, or comply with a continuing request to supply information on a periodic basis. The City is not required to create new documents in response to a request. We are here to receive requests for information that already exists.

Who else sees my request and can be it be made confidential?

Public Information requests received by the City become part of the City's governmental records. There is no statutory provision that prohibits disclosure of the information provided under a public information request.

What type of charges can be assessed?

The following is a summary of the charges for copies of public information adopted by the attorney general.
(1) Standard paper copy - $.10 per page.
(2) Nonstandard-size copy:
      A) Diskette - $1.00;
      B) Tape cartridge - actual cost;
      C) Rewritable CD (CD-RW) - $1.00;
      D) Non-rewritable CD (CD-R) - $1.00;
      E) Digital video disc (DVD) - $3.00;
      F) Oversize paper copy (e.g.: 11 inches by 17 inches, greenbar, bluebar, not including
      maps and photographs using specialty paper) - $.50;
      G) Specialty paper (e.g.: Mylar, blueprint, blueline, map, photographic) - actual cost.
(3) Labor charge:
      A) For programming - $28.50 per hour;
      B) For locating, compiling, and reproducing - $15.00 per hour.
(4) Overhead charge - 20 % of labor charge.
(5) Microfiche or microfilm charge:
      A) Paper copy - $.10 per page;
      B) Fiche or film copy - Actual cost.
(6) Remote document retrieval charge - Actual cost.
(7) Computer resource charge:
      A) Mainframe - $10 per CPU minute;
      B) Midsize - $1.50 per CPU minute;
      C) Client/Server system - $2.20 per clock hour;
      D) PC or LAN - $1.00 per clock hour.
(8) Miscellaneous supplies - Actual cost.
(9) Postage and shipping charge - Actual cost.
(10) Photographs - Actual cost as calculated in accordance with § 70.9(5) of this title.
(11) Maps - Actual cost as calculated in accordance with § 70.9(4) of this title.
(12) Other costs - Actual cost.
(13) Outsourced/Contracted Services - Actual cost for the copy. May not include development
(14) Copy of a body worn camera recording:
      A) $10.00 per recording responsive to the request for information; and
      B) $1.00 per full minute of body worn camera video or audio footage responsive to the
      request for information, if identical information has not already been obtained by a
      member of the public in response to a request for information.

(15) No Sales Tax - No Sales Tax shall be applied to copies of public information.
Cost information noted above is not all-inclusive. Additional information on allowable charges can
be obtained by visiting the Texas Attorney General’s website at

When do I pay if there is a charge involved with my request?

You will be notified by the department(s) of record if there is any charge involved in fulfilling your request. Payment must first be made before the record(s) can be released. Payment can be made by completing the invoice sent via email, or in person. 

How long will it take to respond to my request?

The City must respond "promptly", taking into account the existing workload, the type of record requested and the volume or complexity of the request. Within 10 business days (excluding City holidays) of receipt of the request, the City must do one of the following:
(1) Provide the requested records, 
(2) Notify the requester of the date and time the records will be available, or 
(3) Request an opinion from the Texas Attorney General as to whether some or all of the
requested information must be withheld.

What is the status of my request?

You can review the status of your request at any time by logging into the portal and finding your request on the All Requests page. You'll be prompted to set up a requester account immediately after submitting your request, and you can use those credentials to log in.