Corsicana approves new charges for public information

cash register

Time is money – especially in Corsicana, a municipality of about 26,000 roughly an hour southeast of Dallas by car.

The city council voted unanimously earlier this week to begin charging people whose open-records requests tally at least 36 hours a year in public employees’ time, reports Janet Jacobs of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

“There are two or three people who’ve already gone past 36 hours this year,” Corsicana City Attorney Terry Jacobson said. “It does happen in the real world.”

State law allows Corsicana to put in place such a policy.

A governmental body may establish a reasonable limit on the amount of time that personnel of the governmental body are required to spend producing public information for inspection or duplication by a requestor, or providing copies of public information to a requestor, without recovering its costs attributable to that personnel time.
(b)  A time limit established under Subsection (a) may not be less than 36 hours for a requestor during the 12-month period that corresponds to the fiscal year of the governmental body.

But government agencies are still bound by the usual requirement to provide detailed estimates of charges. The attorney general has more resources on the limits on charges for public information here.

Contact Mike Cronin at or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of cash register by flickr user sean mcmenemy, used via a Creative Commons license.