[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Franklin 8-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fees — See Ch. 182.
New Jersey has adopted OPRA, which has as its general purpose making government records, subject to exceptions created by statute, regulation and executive order, more available to the public than they have been in the past. In certain instances, the production of archived records or records in a format which is not the usual format maintained by the municipality or other special circumstances would be costly and time consuming. OPRA permits the municipality to require the payment of fees, special service charges and/or special charges as a prerequisite to the production of records requiring extraordinary time and effort, special equipment or special formatting.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., the Open Public Records Act.
Requests for public documents must be submitted on Franklin Township's standard OPRA request form established by the Township Clerk, which may be amended from time to time by the Clerk, and which can be obtained at the Office of the Franklin Township Municipal Clerk, having municipal offices located at 202 Sidney Road, Pittstown, New Jersey.
Nothing in this chapter shall require the custodian of documents or any other municipal official to examine, analyze, tabulate, or interpret documents that are subject to production under OPRA.
As set forth below, the statutory fee schedule shall apply to routine requests under OPRA.
In accordance with current law under Smith v. Hudson County Register, 411 N.J. Super. 538 (App Div. 2010), the copying fees charged by Franklin Township for routine records requests under OPRA shall be no more than reasonably approximated "actual costs." For purposes of approximation, the fees of N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5b are hereby incorporated herein, as such fee schedule presently exists or as such fees might appear in future modifications or amendments of the statute. Those fees currently are as follows, per the June 2010 guidance of the Government Records Council:
For letter-sized pages and smaller: $0.10 per page;
For legal-sized pages and larger: $0.15 per page;
Access to electronic records (e-mails) and nonprinted materials shall be provided free of charge;
The actual costs to provide a record in another medium (i.e., computer disk, CD-ROM, DVD, etc.) shall be charged;
If Franklin Township's actual costs exceed the foregoing charges, Franklin Township reserves the right to charge its actual costs of duplication, upon advance advice to the requesting party, unless such additional charge is disallowed by law; and
If the State of New Jersey should amend OPRA regarding copying fees, then the Township Clerk shall adopt such fee schedule as conforms with law.
Charges authorized. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5c, if the nature, format, manner of collation or volume of a record(s) is such that it cannot be reproduced by ordinary copying equipment then existing at Franklin Township, in ordinary business size, or involves an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to accommodate the request, Franklin Township may charge, in addition to the actual duplication cost, a special service charge that is reasonable and based on actual direct costs of providing the copy or copies. In such cases, the Township Clerk, or other custodian or keeper of document qualifying for mandatory production as "governmental records" under OPRA, shall be entitled to special service charges and/or special charges as set forth in § 78-6 below.
Advance notice of fees, special service charges and special charges; deposit. Any requester of government records which are eligible for the imposition of a special charge or special service charge under § 78-6 of this chapter shall receive advance notice of the amount of fees and charges before any work is started. The Township Clerk shall require prepayment of such charges before causing the work to begin.
Duplication on other work beyond capability of municipal in-house workforce. Whenever the in-house municipal workforce or available municipal equipment is insufficient to duplicate or produce government records in a timely fashion, the Township Clerk may cause such duplication or production to be accomplished by outside vendors such as copy centers or producers of digital images. If the costs of such duplication or production charged by such vendors exceeds the routine charges set forth in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5b, the actual direct cost of same without any additional surcharge for labor costs shall be paid by the requesting party.
Special service charges authorized. Whenever government records cannot be reproduced by regular copying equipment or fulfillment of the request would involve extraordinary time and effort (for example, where a large number of records must be recovered from storage or substantive staff time is required to review, sort and assemble records), charges may be imposed as follows:
The actual cost (materials and supplies, but no staff labor) of duplication or reproduction; plus
A special service charge of the actual direct cost of labor shall be imposed for each hour of extraordinary time predicted to be utilized to respond to the request. An estimate of same shall be provided first to the requesting party before the request is processed and the charges imposed.
If a request for government records involves production or conversion of digital or computerized records or film which is 1) in a medium not routinely used by Franklin Township (i.e., electronic or film); 2) not routinely developed or maintained by Franklin Township; or 3) requiring a substantial amount of manipulation or programming of information technology, the requester shall pay fees and special charges as follows:
The Mayor, Clerk or Township Committee (by resolution) may waive the fees or other charges otherwise chargeable if the requester of governmental records is a governmental or educational entity.