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Public Records Requests

Tacoma Public Utilities, in accordance with the Washington State Public Records Act RCW 42.56, allows for the inspection or copies of records unless specifically exempted by law. After submitting a request, you may be contacted to clarify your request or to coordinate delivery of records.

Public records are any writing prepared, owned, used, or retained by us, regardless of physical form, that reflect the conduct or performance of the utility. Also a valid public record request seeks a specific and identifiable public document. This does not include a general request for information. If you are not aware of the title of a specific record, please provide additional information such as subject matter, dates, location or the persons/issues involved, and the account numbers which will help staff locate records responsive to your specific request.


How we respond to the request

We will respond to your request within five business days with any of the following:

  • Make records available for inspection or copying
  • Provide a web link on the city's web site to the specific records requested
  • Acknowledge your request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records will be available
  • Seek clarification of unclear requests
  • Deny your request with an explanation


Public Records Request Portal

Use of this portal is best supported by IE 9, 10, or 11; Chrome; or Firefox browsers. For IE users, compatibility mode should be turned off, or you may not be able to enter a request. Please check your browser settings if you experience any issues.

To submit a public records request, please use the Public Records Request Center.

The Public Records Office (PRO) is located at 3628 South 35th Street Tacoma, WA 98409; requests can be made at that location and at the City Clerk’s Office, located at the 733 Market Street # 11, Tacoma, WA 98402.

The Public Records Officer, James Kauffman, and the Public Records Office staff members can be reached at (253) 502-8144 and via email at Business hours are Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 



How we send the records

You will be able to download records from the Public Records Request Center when they are ready for disclosure. Alternatively, you can receive them by U.S. mail or by picking them up. For large volumes of documents, especially on paper, we can set an appointment for you to inspect them at our office.



Type of Records


Printed (paper) Copies (standard 8 1/2 x 11)

$0.15 per page

Scanned Copies

$0.10 per page

Electronic files or electronic attachments

$0.05 per each 4 files

Transmission of records via electronic format

$0.10 per 1 GB

Digital Media Storage

At cost

Mailing costs

At cost


Please note, adhering to the updates to the state law, a fee schedule is expected to be in effect by the end of 2018.  After implementation of the fee schedule, any responsive documents will be subject to a charge according to the fee schedule.

The fee schedule is maintained by the Public Records Office and updated administratively as costs change. All payments shall be made by cash, money order, or check payable to the City Treasurer. These are the only accepted forms of payment.

Public Records Act Compliance Policy/Procedures


Quick Links


Pierce County Public Records

Washington State Public Records Act

Open Government Resource ManualWashington State Office of the Attorney General

Public Records Act Overview – Municipal Research and Services Center

Code Reviser Public Disclosure Statutes 2017 Sunshine Committee

What happens to my request?

General city records requests are received by the Public Records Office. From there, your request is sent to the appropriate department (s) for a search for records. After a search is conducted, you will be contacted by the Public Records Office. Police Records are released directly from the Police Records Unit.

What information should I include in my request?

It's helpful to include as much information as you can, such as document titles, specific dates, times, addresses, and case numbers. This allows city staff to more effectively locate documents pertaining to your request.

What if my request is for a variety of records?

If your request contains a variety of records from multiple departments, please select which departments you believe will have records, or "Other" and "Unknown/I don't know". The Public Disclosure staff member will help to determine which departments need to receive the request.

Will my request for records be kept confidential?

No, your request becomes a public record and can be requested and/or viewed by others.

What is third party notification?

If records contain information that may affect others and may be exempt from disclosure, the City may send a notice to those parties informing them of the request prior to providing the records to the requestor.

When is a request considered abandoned?

If a requestor fails to fulfill their obligations to inspect, respond to clarification from by City staff, or make any payment within 30 calendar days, the City may close the request and consider it abandoned.

What are exemptions to the Public Records Act?

Listings of the most common exemptions are found at RCW 42.56.210-510. In addition, other Washington laws may prohibit or exempt the disclosure of other classes of information.

How does the City handle large requests?

Large requests may be handled in installments. A 10 percent deposit of estimated costs may be required prior to release of any records.