Open Records Request Policy

It shall be the policy of the Town of Westover Hills to respond to all open records request in accordance with the Texas Government Code, Chapter 552. The Town of Westover Hills will follow the following guidelines in responding to open records requests.

Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives everyone the right to access government records, and in return, the officer or agent of the governmental entity in charge the records is obligated to abide by the law in meeting the request for information; however, certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of some 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 of Public Information

The requestor has 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;
  • If requested, receive a written statement of estimated charges, when charges may exceed $40 in advance of beginning the retrieval of requested information as well as an opportunity to modify the request in response to the itemized estimate of charges;
  • Choose whether or not to inspect the requested information (possibly at no charge), receive copies of the information, or both;
  • A 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 Texas Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether or not the information can be withheld under one of the legal exceptions, or if the communication discloses the requested information, a redacted copy; and
  • Lodge a written complaint about overcharges for public information with the Office of the Attorney General 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.

Town of Westover Hills Responsibilities

The Town of Westover Hills assumes the following responsibility in responding to requests:

  • Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying public information and inform requestors of the procedures;
  • Treat all requestors uniformly and shall provide to the requestor reasonable accommodations to review requested documents, including accommodations in accordance with ADA requirements;
  • 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 within the time set forth in state law and set a date and time to provide the requested information within a reasonable time;
  • Request a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding the release of any information that the Town may deem as questionable relating to the legality of the pending release 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 from release and provide the remaining public information promptly;
  • Make a good faith attempt to inform third parties when their proprietary information is being requested from the Town; and
  • Respond in writing to all written communications from the Office of the Attorney General regarding charges for the information. Respond to the Office of the Attorney General regarding complaints about violations of the Act. Procedures to Obtain Information:
    • Submit a request by mail, fax, e-mail or in person according to a Town’s procedures.
    • Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the Town to accurately identify and locate the information requested.
    • Cooperate with the Town’s reasonable efforts to clarify the type or amount of information requested.

Information (requested) being released

  • Town will review request promptly, and if the response cannot be accommodated within 10 working days the Town’s representative will notify requestor in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available.
  • Requestor should keep all appointments to inspect records and/or to pick up copies. Failure to keep appointments may result in losing the opportunity to inspect the information at alternate time if requested.

Cost of Records

  • Requestor must respond to any written estimate of charges within 10 days of the date the Town provided the information, or the request will be considered withdrawn.
  • If estimated costs exceed $100.00 the Town may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.
  • Requestor may request the Town to determine whether or not providing the information benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
  • Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges.

 

To request information from Town of Westover Hills, please contact:

By mail to:

            The Town of Westover Hills

            Attn: Open Records Request

            5824 Merrymount Road

            Fort Worth, Texas 76107

By fax:

 Police Department 817-737-3130

            By e-mail:

                        http://www.westoverhills.us/?page_id=852

In person at:

            The Town of Westover Hills

            5824 Merrymount Road

            Fort Worth, Texas 76107

 

Complaints

  • For complaints regarding failure to release public information please contact your local County or District Attorney.
  • You may also contact the Office of the Attorney General, Open Government Hotline, at 512-478-6736 or toll-free at 1-877-673-6839.
  • For complaints regarding overcharges, please contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Cost Rules Administrator at 512-475-2497.

If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact our ADA coordinator, Penny Spikes at (817) 735-8027.

                   POLICY APPROVED THIS THE 25TH DAY OF JULY, 2016

Lyle H. Dresher, Town Administrator