What is an open records request under the Georgia Open Records Act?
Under the Act, a "public record" includes all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, or similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of a public office or agency. A "public record" also can include items received or maintained by a private person or entity on behalf of a public office or agency where the records are received or maintained by a private person, firm, corporation or other private entity in the performance of a service or function for or on behalf of a public agency. It does not include any computer program or computer software used or maintained in the course of operation of a public office or agency.
What is the Open Records Center?
Augusta, Georgia, is pleased to provide a new service for the submission of open records requests. The Open Records Portal service provides access to all Augusta departments, except for the Sheriff's Office, the various judiciary courts and agencies, and the Board of Education. Departments include:
- 9-1-1 Emergency Services
- Administrator's Office
- Animal Services
- Augusta Regional Airport
- Board of Elections
- Central Services and 3-1-1
- Clerk of Commission
- Commissioners' Offices
- Emergency Management
- Environmental Services
- Fire Department
- Housing and Community Development
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Law Department
- Parks and Recreation
- Planning and Development
- Richmond County Correctional Institution
- Risk Management
- Tax Assessor
- Tax Commission
- Various Commissions, Authorities, and Boards
Who manages Augusta's open records request process?
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §50-18-71(b)(1)(B), Augusta, Georgia, has designated an Open Records Officer who is responsible for the legal and systematic response and completion to open records requests. Any questions or concerns regarding the open records request process may be directed to the Open Records Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 821-4899.
Can I request information that is already publicly available?
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §50-18-71(h), Augusta, Georgia, has already made a variety of public records available to the public. Any formal open records requests for these records may be closed without providing separate printouts or copies of the records or data.
What records are already publicly available?
The following records are available through Augusta, Georgia's publicly accessible website. This list is not all-inclusive.
County Commission or Committee meetings, agendas, or minutes: https://www.augustaga.gov/647/Agendas-Minutes-Video
Procurement Bid Listings: https://www.augustaga.gov/Archive.aspx?AMID=183
County Budget: https://www.augustaga.gov/164/Budgets
Check Register: https://appweb2.augustaga.gov/Budget/Watch/checkregister.html
Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) projects or expenditures: https://www.augustaga.gov/2731/SPLOST-8
Open GIS Data: https://geohub-augustagis.opendata.arcgis.com/
Where can I request court case documents, divorce records, deeds, or property liens?
For court case documents, divorce records, deeds, or property liens, please call 706-821-2460 or visit https://www.augustaga.gov/296/Clerk-of-Superior-State-Juvenile-Court.
Where can I request vital records?
For Probate Court vital records, please call 706-821-2434.
Are there any fees associated with my request for open records?
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(c), Augusta may impose a reasonable charge for the search, retrieval, redaction, and copying of records. Such costs cannot exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid full-time employee who has the necessary skill and training to perform the request, provided that no charges shall be made for the first quarter hour. In addition, Augusta may charge a fee for the copying of records or data, not to exceed $0.10 per page for letter or legal-size documents, or in the case of other documents, the actual cost of producing the copy.
If a request cost estimate exceeds $25.00 for search, retrieval, redaction, or copying, Augusta must provide the requestor with a detailed description of the estimated costs, including: (1) the total estimated charge; (2) the estimated number of hours required to search, retrieve, redact, or copy the records; (3) the hourly rate to be charged; (4) in the case of paper records, the estimated number of pages to be copied and the charge per page for copying; and (6) in the case of electronic records, the actual cost of the media on which the records are produced, within three business days of receiving the request. Augusta may defer search and retrieval of the records until the requestor agrees to pay the estimated costs unless the requestor has stated in the request a willingness to pay an amount that equals or exceeds the search and retrieval costs.
Any request cost estimate that exceeds $500.00 must be reviewed and approved by the Open Records Officer. Augusta may insist on prepayment of the costs prior to beginning search, retrieval, review, or production of the records.
An invoice describing the actual cost incurred in producing responsive records, which may be higher or lower than the cost estimates provided in accordance with the paragraphs above, shall be provided at the time of delivery of records.
Whenever any person who has requested to inspect or copy public records has not paid the cost for search, retrieval, redaction, or copying of such records when such charges have been lawfully incurred, Augusta may require prepayment for compliance with all future requests for production of records from that person until the costs for the prior production of records have been paid or any dispute regarding payment is resolved.