Township of Independence, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Independence as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Salaries and compensation — See Ch. 89.
[Adopted 6-10-2003 by Ord. No. 03-10 (Ch. 44, Art. I of the 1984 Code)]

§ 72-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
TOWNSHIP RECORDS
Any paper, written or printed book, document, drawing, map, plan, photograph, microfilm, data-processed or image-processed document, information stored or maintained electronically or by sound recording or in a similar device, or any copy thereof, that has been made, maintained, or kept on file in the course of the Township's official business by any of its officers, committees, or boards thereof, including subcommittees thereof, or that has been received in the course of its official business by any such officer, committee, or board, or of any subcommittee thereof. The terms shall not include consultative or deliberative material.

§ 72-2 Records excluded.

A Township record shall not include the following information which is deemed to be confidential in any written form or contained in any e-mail or computer database, or in any telephone record log, any memorandum, correspondence, notes, reports or other communication which falls within attorney-client privilege; information which, if disclosed, would give an advantage to competitors or bidders; information generated by or on behalf of the Township or its employees in connection with any sexual harassment complaint filed with the Township or with any grievance filed by or against an individual or in connection with collective negotiations, including documents and statements of strategy or negotiating position; information which is a communication between the Township and its insurance carrier, administrative service organization or risk management office; information which is to be kept confidential pursuant to Court Order; that portion of any document which discloses the social security number, credit card number, unlisted telephone number, or driver's license number of any person; the records pertaining to an investigation in progress for the inspection, copying or examination of such record or records which shall be inimical to the public interest; personnel or pension records.

§ 72-3 Duties of Municipal Clerk.

The Municipal Clerk shall permit the records to be inspected, examined, and copied by any person during not less than six regular business hours, over not less than three business days per week, or during the Township's regularly scheduled business hours, whichever is less, unless a Township record is exempt from public access as defined herein. Prior to allowing access to any Township record, the Municipal Clerk shall redact from the record any information which discloses social security number, credit card number, unlisted telephone number, or driver's license number of any person, except for use by any government agency, including any court or law enforcement agency, in carrying out its functions, or any private person or entity acting on behalf thereof, or any private person or entity seeking to enforce payment of court-ordered child support, except with respect to the disclosure and driver information by the Division of Motor Vehicles, except that a social security number contained in a record required by law to be made, maintained or kept on file by a public agency shall be disclosed when access to the document or disclosure of that information is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law regulation or order or by state statute, resolution of either or both houses of the legislature, executive order of the governor, rule of court, or regulation promulgated under the authority of any statute or executive order of the Governor.

§ 72-4 Payment for copying.

A. 
A copy or copies of the record may be purchased by any person in accordance with the following schedule:
(1) 
First page to 10th page: $0.75 per page.
(2) 
Eleventh page to 20th page: $0.50 per page.
(3) 
All pages over 20: $0.25 per page.
B. 
The actual cost of duplicating the record shall be the cost of materials and supplies used to make a copy of the record, but shall not include the cost of labor or other overhead expenses associated with making the copy except as provided herein. If the Township can demonstrate that its actual costs for duplication of the record exceed the foregoing rates, the Township shall be permitted to charge the actual cost of duplicating the record. Whenever the nature, format, manner, or collation or volume of a Township record embodied in the form of printed matter to be inspected, examined or copied pursuant to this section is such that the record cannot be reproduced by ordinary document-copying equipment in ordinary business size or involves an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to accomplish the request, the Township may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplicating the record, a special service charge that shall be reasonable and shall be based upon the actual direct cost of providing the copy or copies. The special service charge shall be established in the amount $15 per hour and the requestor shall have the opportunity to review and object to the charge prior to its being incurred.

§ 72-5 Medium of copy provided.

The Municipal Clerk shall permit access to a Township record and provide a copy thereof in the medium requested if the Township maintains the record in that medium. If the Township does not maintain the record in the medium requested, the Municipal Clerk shall either convert the record to the medium requested or provide a copy in some other meaningful medium. If a request is for a record in a medium not routinely used by the Township, not routinely developed or maintained by the Township, or requiring a substantial amount of manipulation or programming of information technology, the Township may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special charge that shall be reasonable and shall be based on the cost for any extensive use of information technology, or for the labor cost of personnel providing the service, that is actually incurred by the Township or attributable to the Township for the programming, clerical, and supervisory assistance required, or both.

§ 72-6 Access to budgets, bills and vouchers.

Immediate access ordinarily shall be granted to budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts, including collective negotiations agreements and individual employment contracts, and public employee salary and overtime information.

§ 72-7 Form for making request.

The Municipal Clerk of the Township shall adopt a form for the use of any person who requests access to a record held or controlled by the Township. The form shall provide space for the name, address, and phone number of the requestor and a brief description of the Township record sought. The form shall include space for the Municipal Clerk to indicate which record will be made available, when the record will be available, and the fees to be charged. The form shall also include the following: specific directions and procedures for requesting a record; a statement as to whether prepayment of fees or a deposit is required; the time period within which the Township is required by P.L. 1963, c. 73 (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented, to make the record available; a statement of the requestor's right to challenge a decision by the Township to deny access and the procedure for filing an appeal; space for the Municipal Clerk to list reasons if a request is denied in whole or in part; space for the requestor to sign and date the form; and space for the Municipal Clerk to sign and date the form if the request is fulfilled or denied. The Municipal Clerk may require a deposit against costs for reproducing documents sought through an anonymous request whenever the Municipal Clerk anticipates that the information thus requested will cost in excess of $5 to reproduce.

§ 72-8 Manner of making request.

A request or access to a Township record shall be in writing and hand delivered, mailed, transmitted electronically, or otherwise conveyed to the Municipal Clerk. The Municipal Clerk shall promptly comply with a request to inspect, examine, copy, or provide a copy of a Township record. If the Municipal Clerk is unable to comply with a request for access, the Municipal Clerk shall indicate the specific basis therefor on the request form and promptly return it to the requestor. The Municipal Clerk shall sign and date the form and provide the requestor with a copy thereof. If the Municipal Clerk of a government record asserts that part of a particular record is exempt from public access pursuant to P.L. 1963, c. 73 (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.) as amended and supplemented, the Municipal Clerk shall delete or excise from a copy of the record that portion which the Municipal Clerk asserts is exempt from access and shall promptly permit access to the remainder of the record. If the Township record requested is temporarily unavailable because it is in use or in storage, the Municipal Clerk shall so advise the requestor and shall make arrangements to promptly make available a copy of the record. If a request for access to a Township record would substantially disrupt Township operations, the Municipal Clerk may deny access to the record after attempting to reach a reasonable solution with the requestor that accommodates the interests of the requestor and the Township. Any officer or employee of the Township who receives a request for access to a Township record shall forward the request to the Municipal Clerk or direct the requestor to the Municipal Clerk.

§ 72-9 Time for responding to request.

Unless a shorter time period is otherwise provided by statute, regulation, or executive order, the Municipal Clerk shall grant access to a Township record or deny a request for access to a Township record as soon as possible, but not later than seven business days after receiving the request, provided that the record is currently available and not in storage or archived. In the event the Municipal Clerk fails to respond within seven business days after receiving a request, the failure to respond shall be deemed a denial of the request, unless the requestor has elected not to provide a name, address, or telephone number or other means of contacting the requestor. If the requestor has elected not to provide a name, address, or telephone number or other means of contacting the requestor, the Municipal Clerk shall not be required to respond until the requestor reappears before the Municipal Clerk seeking a response to the original request. If the Township record is in storage or archived, the requestor shall be so advised within seven business days after the custodian receives the request. The requestor shall be advised by the Municipal Clerk when the record can be made available. If the record is not made available by that time, access shall be deemed denied.

§ 72-10 Appeal procedure.

A party that is aggrieved by the denial of or failure to provide access to a Township record for inspection, examination, or copying, or for purchase of copies thereof, may institute a proceeding to challenge the Municipal Clerk's decision by filing an action in the Superior Court, Law Division, Warren County. In lieu of filing an action in Superior Court, the aggrieved person may file a complaint with the Government Records Council in the Department of Community Affairs. In any such proceeding, the Township shall have the burden of proving that the denial of access is authorized by law.
[Adopted 12-14-2004 by Ord. No. 04-9 (Ch. 44, Art. II of the 1984 Code)]

§ 72-11 Requests to be submitted through Municipal Prosecutor.

All requests for discovery in matters pending in the Independence Municipal Court shall be submitted through the Municipal Prosecutor.

§ 72-12 Fees.

The following fees shall be payable by the requestor to the Township of Independence for the discovery provided:
A. 
Seventy-five cents per page for each of the first 10 pages photocopied.
B. 
Fifty cents per page for each of the next 10 pages photocopied.
C. 
Twenty-five cents per page for each of the pages photocopied thereafter.
D. 
Actual postage for any discovery sent by mail.
E. 
Twenty-five cents for the envelope for any discovery sent by mail.
F. 
Photographs will be photocopied at the rates established herein. If requests are made for duplicate photographs, the actual cost of making the photographs shall be charged.
G. 
Duplication of videotapes constitutes an extraordinary duplication process and will be charged at the rate of $5 per videotape.
H. 
On any item that cannot be photocopied on the Township copy machine or not otherwise provided for in this schedule, the actual cost incurred in making the copy shall be charged.

§ 72-12.1 Police Department fees.

[Added 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-08]
The following fees shall be established for such other services provided by the Independence Township Police Department:
A. 
Electronically recorded records. Any type of video recordings, including transfer of VHS to DVD format or vice versa: $50.

§ 72-13 Discovery from other entities; fees.

Where the discovery must be obtained from an entity other than the Township of Independence, e.g., another police department, the actual costs paid to the other entity shall be paid by the requestor.