[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Emerson 3-21-2000 by Ord. No. 1127. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a procedure for the production of public records as defined by the laws of this state, common law or such other records as may be ordered produced by order of the court.
All requests for public records shall be made in writing to the Borough Clerk, except for tax records. Requests for tax records shall be made in writing to the Borough Tax Assessor.
The public business of the Borough shall take precedence over a record request, especially where such request is a broad or far-reaching information request.
Upon request to view records, if said records are public and on site, the Borough will endeavor to honor such request within three business days.
Upon request for photocopies of records, if such records are public and on site and 100 pages or less, the Borough will endeavor to honor such request with five business days from receipt of the written request and a deposit in the approximate amount of the cost for copying said records.
Upon request for photocopies of records, if such records are public, and either off site and/or more than 100 pages, the Borough will endeavor to honor such request within 10 calendar days from receipt of the written request and a deposit in the approximate amount of the cost for copying said records.
Upon request for minutes of meetings, or other taped proceedings, if such minutes are public records, the Borough will endeavor to honor such request within 30 business days from the receipt of the written request or date of the meeting (whichever is greater) and a deposit in the approximate amount of the cost of the transcript together with any copying charges.
All requests for public records shall be as specific as possible. Public record requests which are random in nature shall not be accepted.
The following records, or types of records, which are not public and shall not be made available to the public are, but are not limited to, the following:
Records of a personal nature regarding Borough officials, employees and/or other applicable individuals.
Medical records of Borough officials, employees and/or other applicable officials.
All records exempted by state and/or federal statutes, rules and/or regulations.
All records exempted by Presidential and/or gubernatorial order.
All records which are not included in the definition of "public records" pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. where applicable.
Confidential police investigation reports.
Work product or notes of Borough officials/employees.
Council closed session minutes involving personnel matters. Council open session minutes shall not be considered public records until such time as they are approved by the Borough Council. Council closed session minutes, other than involving personnel matters, shall not be considered public records until such time as they are approved by the Borough Council and the matter(s) in question have been concluded pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq. A report prepared for review by the Mayor and Council shall not be deemed a public record until at least seven calendar days after disbursement of the report by the Borough Clerk to the Mayor and Council or the next Council meeting, whichever is later.
Not all requests for public records do, in fact, lead to the copying, review and/or release of such records. A public record may be a public record under common law, but may not be a public record under the Right to Know Law, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., or vice versa, or it may be or may not be a public record under any other statute, rule, regulation and/or court decision. The Borough Clerk shall seek the opinion of the Borough Attorney as to whether or not a record is public if there is any question as to its potential copying, review and/or release. The Borough Clerk's actions in this regard shall be guided by such legal opinion.
[Added 8-19-2003 by Ord. No. 1238]
Not all requests for records can be readily accessible for inspection, copying or examination by its citizens because the record request may be voluminous or require an extraordinary expenditure of time or effort by Borough employees. In such instances, the following shall apply:
Whenever the nature, format, manner of collation or volume of a government record embodied in the form of printed matter to be inspected, examined or copied pursuant to a law respecting public access to government records in compliance with N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. 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 accommodate the request, which determination shall be made at the discretion of the Borough Clerk, a special service charge shall be imposed, which shall be $40 per hour, plus the actual direct cost of providing the copy or copies.
In the event said public records are requested and necessitate the location and mailing of the same to the party requesting said public records, then the additional fees therefore shall be as follows:
Mailing charge: $20.
Search of Borough records:
Estimate of special handling costs; deposits for fees.
Where the fee for copying or special handling is estimated to be in excess of $5, the requestor shall deposit the estimated cost prior to the making of copies or execution of search by Borough personnel.
Cash, certified check or bank check shall be the only acceptable form of payment for any costs or estimated fees deposit over $25.
The requestor shall have the opportunity to review and object to the estimated charge prior to it being incurred. The Borough Clerk shall seek the opinion of the Borough Attorney if the fee is disputed and shall be guided by such legal opinion.
[Added 11-9-2004 by Ord. No. 1273]
All requests for discovery in matters pending in the Emerson Municipal Court shall be submitted through the Municipal Prosecutor.
The following fees shall be payable by the requestor to the Borough of Emerson for the discovery provided:
For each of the first 10 pages photocopied: $0.75 per page.
For each of the next 10 pages photocopied: $0.50 per page.
For each of the pages photocopied thereafter: $0.25 per page.
Actual postage for any discovery sent by mail.
For the envelope for any discovery sent by mail: $0.25.
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.
Duplication of videotapes constitutes an extraordinary duplication process and will be charged at the rate of $5 per videotape.
On any item that cannot be photocopied on the Emerson copy machine or not otherwise provided for in this schedule, the actual cost incurred in making the copy shall be charged.
Where the discovery must be obtained from an entity other than the Borough of Emerson, e.g., another police department, the actual costs paid to the other entity shall be paid by the requestor.