[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Mantua 2-25-2008 by Ord. No. O-03-2008. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the Township of Mantua 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 Township of Mantua officer or employee shall be deemed to be "government records," as the 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 statute or other regulation, common law practice, executive order of the Governor of the State of New Jersey, Rules of Court, federal law or judicial decision.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(f), the Township Clerk is designated as the custodian of records. The Clerk shall adopt a form for the use of any person who requests access to public records, and such form shall contain all of the information required by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(f).
Any person seeking to inspect, examine or copy a public record of the Township of Mantua shall make an application in writing to the Township 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 Township 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 the 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 Township 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 Township Solicitor. A copy of the request form shall be forwarded to the Township Solicitor, who after review and investigation, shall issue an opinion and note such opinion on the request form and promptly return it to the Township 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 Township 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 Township Clerk shall so advise the requestor and shall make arrangements to make a copy of the record available.
If the request for access to a government record would substantially disrupt municipal operations, the Township 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-5(e), immediate access shall be granted to budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts (including collective bargaining 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 a government record or deny a request for access as soon as possible but no 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 Township Clerk fails to respond within seven business days after receiving the 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 Township Clerk shall not be required to respond until the requestor reappears before the Township Clerk 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 Township Clerk receives the request. The requestor shall be advised by the Township Clerk when the record can be made available. If the record is not made available by that time, access shall be deemed denied.
The Township 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 Township 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 Township Clerk or his or her authorized representative.
In the event that the nature of a request to view a record requires that the Township Clerk or other municipal employee(s) to observe or monitor such viewing for a period of time exceeding one hour, the requestor shall be responsible for reimbursing the municipality for time spent by the Township Clerk or other employee.
[Amended 3-7-2011 by Ord. No. O-01-2011]
Requests for a record to be placed on a CD and/or DVD or floppy disk can be done so. There is no fee if the requestor supplies the disk. A fee of $0.96 per CD and/or DVD will be assessed to the requestor when such a request is made and approved and the Township of Mantua must supply the disk. Any requests for software conversions shall be subject to the special service charge described herein. For security reasons, the use of a floppy, CD or DVD disk provided by the requestor is prohibited.
A copy of a record which is a sound recording, primarily minutes of a meeting, shall assess a fee of $0.96 per CD and/or DVD for preproduction if the Township of Mantua must supply the audiotape and no fee if the requestor supplies the audiotape.
[Added 12-5-2011 by Ord. No. O-16-2011]
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 54:5-54, the Tax Collector shall provide to any party entitled to redeem a certificate pursuant to this section, N.J.S.A. 54:5-54, two calculations of the amount required for redemptions within a calendar year at no cost. For each subsequent calculation requested from the Tax Collector there shall be a fee of $50. A request for a redemption calculation shall be made in writing to the Tax Collector.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 54:5-97.1, the Tax Collector may charge a lien-holder of a tax lien $50 for the calculation of the amount due to redeem the tax lien as required pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-97.1. Any request for a redemption calculation shall specify the date to be used for the calculation, which shall be the date of the notice. Neither the Tax Collector nor the Township of Mantua shall be liable for an incorrect calculation. The fee paid to the Township of Mantua shall not become part of the lien and shall not be passed to any party entitled to redeem pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-54.