[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Wharton (Sec. 2-1.5i of the Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Administration of government — See Ch. 3.
The Borough of Wharton hereby creates a Borough public records policy governing public records created/governed by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. ("Right to Know Law").
All government records shall be subject to public access unless exempt from such access by P.L. 1963, c. 73 (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, any other statute, resolution of either or both houses of the legislature; regulation promulgated under the authority of any statute or executive order of the Governor; executive order of the Governor; rules of court; any federal law, federal regulation or federal order.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CUSTODIAN OF A GOVERNMENT RECORD or CUSTODIAN
- The Municipal Clerk.
- GOVERNMENT RECORD or RECORD
- 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 his or its official business by an officer, commission, agency or authority of the Borough, including subordinate boards thereof, or that has been received in the course of his or its official business by any such officer, commission, agency or authority of the Borough, including subordinate boards thereof. The terms shall not include inter-agency or intra-agency advisory, consultative or deliberative material.
The Municipal Clerk is the Custodian of all municipal records. All requests for records shall be made through the Borough Clerk's Office on a form adopted by the Municipal Clerk. No request for records shall be honored without a properly completed form, except for document requests by the Mayor and/or Borough Council, the Borough Attorney or other Borough special counsel.
Upon receipt of a request for records, if said records are public the custodian will endeavor to honor such request within seven business days of the receipt of said request. Working days are defined as Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. However, there will be times when, due to the nature or extent of the request, the custodian will be unable to honor the request within seven business days; if any document or copy which has been requested is not a public record or cannot be provided within the seven business days, a response with the information shall be provided within the seven business days to the person(s) requesting same. 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.
All requests for records shall be as specific as possible to the Borough.
All requests for records shall, except for requests by Borough employees/officials and nonprofit organizations, be subject to the Borough's policy as to copying costs.
The following records or types of records which are not public and shall not be made available to the public include, but are not limited to, the following: autopsy reports; child abuse or sex assault victim's name or address; court records sealed; computer security information; criminal investigatory records; credit card numbers; grand jury testimony, information; grievance information with public employer; domestic violence data; drivers' license numbers; DYFS information; electronic surveillance materials; emergency or security information or procedures; inter-agency or intra-agency advisory communication; juvenile records; labor negotiations information, strategy or positions; Medical Examiner photographs; otherwise inappropriate material; pension and personnel records; photographs; presentence investigations; public agency insurance communications; safety of persons or public; security measures and surveillance techniques; social security numbers, unlisted telephone numbers; victim location (domestic violence); victim records; and records that have been destroyed/not retained pursuant to records retention and disposition schedule.
Where a legal determination must be made as to whether records are "public records," as provided by law, the request will be reviewed by the Borough Attorney.
Council minutes shall not be considered public records until such time as they are approved by the Borough Council.
[Amended 7-19-2010 by Ord. No. O-08-10]
Except as otherwise provided by law or regulation, the fee assessed for the duplication of printed records shall be: $0.05 per letter-sized pages and $0.07 for legal-sized pages; for a police accident report there may be an additional fee when the request is not made in person of $5 for the first three pages and $1 for each additional page, as provided by N.J.S.A. 39:4-131.
For CD or DVD copies, the cost shall be $0.50 per item. For photo sheets, the cost shall be $0.50 per page. Where a request is for a copy in a format other than those listed, reasonable efforts will be made to provide the information in the format requested. The cost will be based on the costs of producing the format requested.
For any requests sent by mail, the cost of postage will be charged.
If the estimated cost of providing the document(s) exceeds $5, a deposit shall be required.
A person who is denied access to a government record by the custodian of the record, at the option of the requester, may:
Institute a proceeding to challenge the custodian's decision by filing an action in Superior Court, which shall be heard in the vicinage where it is filed by a Superior Court Judge who has been designated to hear such cases because of that judge's knowledge and expertise in matters relating to access to governments records; or
In lieu of filing an action in Superior Court, file a complaint with the Government Records Council established pursuant to Section 8 of P.L. 2001, c. 404 (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-7).
[Amended 5-4-2009 by Ord. No. O-04-09]
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5, a special service charge will be imposed if the request involves extraordinary expenditure of time and effort or requires a substantial amount of manipulation or programming of information technology, defined as requiring at least 25% of the custodian's normal workday. The special service charge shall be reasonable and based on the cost of any extensive information technology, for the labor of personnel providing the service and for supervisory assistance required. This fee shall be imposed whether a request is for actual documents or viewing of documents. The amount of the special service charge shall be calculated by the Chief Financial Officer using the fourteen-point criteria adopted by the Government Records Council for determining the assessment of a special service charge for extraordinary public records under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(c), and the person requesting the information shall have the opportunity to review and object to the charge prior to it being incurred. If the estimated cost of providing the information exceeds $5, a deposit shall be paid before work will commence. The deposit shall be 50% of the estimated cost.