[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury 10-4-2005 by Ord. No. 862 (Ch. 60B of the 1973 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby declared to be the public policy of this Borough to recognize the public's general right to know pursuant to the Open Public Records Act (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.). All records kept in the course of official duties by any Borough officer or employee shall be deemed to be "government records," as that term is defined by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, and such records shall be subject to inspection by the public unless exempt under the statute or other regulation, common law practice, executive order of the Governor, rules of court, federal law or judicial decision.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A. Any record that has been made, maintained or kept on file in the course of official business by a public agency or an officer of that public agency, or that has been received in the course of official business by a public agency or an officer of that public agency. "Government records" includes papers, printed documents, handwritten documents, e-mails, tape recordings, computer records, electronically stored information, books, maps, and photographs.
- B. The term "government record" does not include inter-agency or intra-agency advisory, consultative or deliberative material; information that is security and business-related, law enforcement related; personal information; records pertaining to investigations. (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.)
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, the Borough Clerk is designated as the custodian of records. The Clerk shall adopt a form for the use of any person who requests access to a record, and such form shall contain all of the information required by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5f.
Any person seeking to inspect, examine or copy a public record of this municipality shall make application in writing to the Borough Clerk, during regular business hours, on the form provided. All requests for public records shall be as specific as possible, including the type of record and date created, if known.
The Borough Clerk shall promptly comply with a request to inspect, examine, copy or provide a copy of a government record. If the Clerk is unable to comply with a request for access, he or she shall indicate on the request form the specific basis for such inability to comply and shall promptly return it to the requestor. The Clerk shall sign and date the form and provide the requestor with a copy thereof.
In those instances where the nature of the request or the record itself leads the Borough Clerk to doubt whether or not the record is a "government record" as defined by law or is a record exempt from disclosure, the Clerk shall request an opinion from the Borough Attorney. A copy of the request form shall be forwarded to the Attorney, who, after review and investigation, shall issue an opinion and note such opinion on the request form and promptly return it to the Borough Clerk.
If any part of a particular record is exempt from public access pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., the Clerk shall delete, redact or excise from a copy of the record that portion which is exempt from access and shall promptly permit access to the remainder of the record.
If the record requested is temporarily unavailable because it is in use or in storage, the Clerk shall so advise the requestor and shall make arrangements to make a copy of the record available.
If a request for access to a government record would substantially disrupt municipal operations, the 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 municipality.
As required by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5e, immediate access shall be granted for access to budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts (including collective negotiations agreements and individual employment contracts), and public salary and overtime information.
Unless a shorter time period is otherwise provided by statute, regulation or executive order, the Clerk shall grant access to government record or deny a request for access to a 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 that the 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 Clerk shall not be required to respond until the requestor reappears before the custodian seeking a response to the original request. If the government record is in storage or archived, the requestor shall be so advised within seven business days after the Clerk receives the request. The requestor shall be advised by the Clerk when the record can be made available. If the record is not made available by that time, access shall be deemed denied.
The Clerk shall post prominently in public view, in or adjacent to the Clerk's office, a statement that sets forth in clear, concise and specific terms the right to appeal a denial of or failure to provide access to a government record and the procedure by which an appeal may be filed.
Upon the approval of a request to view, inspect, examine or copy a record, the record and the requestor shall remain in the presence of the Borough Clerk or his or her authorized representative at all times. Under no circumstances shall any government record be removed from the office where it is normally kept unless accompanied by the custodian or his or her authorized representative.
In the event that the nature of a request to view records requires that the Clerk or other municipal employee observe or monitor such viewing for a period of time exceeding two hours, the requestor shall be responsible for reimbursing the municipality for time spent by the Clerk or other employee.
Copies of records may be purchased for the fee prescribed by law or regulation. If a fee is not prescribed by law or regulation, the fee shall be the actual cost of duplicating the record; provided, however, that where the actual cost for duplication of a record exceeds the rates below, the actual cost shall be imposed:
Standard-sized paper documents, up to 8 1/2 by 14 inches in size.
Municipal lien search (N.J.S.A. 54:5-11): $10.
Large size paper documents and maps, include, but not limited to, Zoning Map, Street Map, Soils Survey Map, site plan, subdivision plat, Tax Map, and engineering plans: $1.25 per square foot of paper size.
Preprinted documents. Fees for printed books, manuals, periodicals, pamphlets, supplements and/or binders in hard or soft cover or spiral bound shall be based on the actual cost charged to the Borough. Preprinted documents include, but are not limited to, the Borough of Shrewsbury Code Volume I and Volume II, Master Plan, Environmental Resource Inventory, and/or printed pamphlets or supplements derived from same.
Electronic records, documents or database. The following fees cover the cost of copying existing files to floppy disk or CD-ROM sent via e-mail. Any request for software conversions shall be subject to the special service charge described in Subsection H(3). For security reasons, the use of floppy disks or CD-ROM provided by the requestor is prohibited.
Reproduction of GIS data. Topographic price list (based on 100 scale) of any GIS data owned by the Borough shall be as follows:
A deposit shall be paid prior to filing any anonymous request where it is estimated that the information requested will cost in excess of $5 to reproduce. The amount of the deposit shall equal the total estimated cost of filling the request.
Prepayment is required when the record is voluminous, unusual or requires the use of a vendor or services of a professional.
Special service charge.
A special service charge shall be imposed, in addition to the actual cost of duplicating the record, where the nature, format, manner of collation or volume of printed matter is such that it cannot be reproduced by ordinary business size or where such record involves an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to accommodate the request.
The actual cost (materials and supplies) of duplication or reproduction, plus a service charge of $35 per hour or the actual direct cost of labor (if more), shall be imposed for each hour of extraordinary time predicted to be utilized to respond to the request. The requestor shall have the opportunity to review and object to the special service charge prior to it being incurred.
Whenever the in-house municipal workforce or available municipal equipment is insufficient to duplicate or produce government records in a timely fashion, the custodian may cause such duplication or reproduction to be accomplished by the Borough Engineer or Borough Planning Director or outside vendors such as copy centers or producers of engineer digital images or to be accomplished by other professionals. If the costs of such duplication or production charged by such offices/vendors exceeds charges set forth in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5 (OPRA), the actual cost of same, without any additional surcharge for labor costs, shall be paid.
Supplemental charges. Cost of any travel necessitated for the reproduction of records shall be added. Any postage or shipping charges shall be added for any and all records to be sent by mail or advisory service, if so requested.