[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City 12-21-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
New Jersey has adopted the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5, which has as its general purpose making government records more available to the public than they have been in the past. In certain instances, the production of voluminous records, archived records, or records in a format which is not the usual format maintained by the municipality or other special circumstances is costly and time consuming. The New Jersey Open Public Records Act 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.
The City Clerk by law is the custodian of records for the City.
Nothing in this chapter shall require the custodian of records or any other municipal official to examine, analyze, tabulate, or interpret documents which are subject to production under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act.
Requests to be in writing. Any requests for documents shall be made to the City Clerk in writing and preferably on a form established by the City Clerk for such purposes.
Advance notice of fees, special service charges and special charges; deposit. Any requester of government records who may be eligible for the imposition of a fee, special charge or special service charge under this chapter shall receive advance notice of the amount of fees and charges before any work is started. Whenever the costs of reproducing a document exceed $5, the City Clerk shall require payment in full of such charges before causing the work to begin.
Duplication or other work beyond capability of municipal in-house work force. Whenever the in-house municipal work force or available municipal equipment is insufficient to duplicate or produce government records in a timely fashion, the City Clerk may cause such duplication or production to be accomplished by outside vendors such as copy centers or producers of digital images and, in the case of payroll records, the City's payroll-processing company. If the costs of such duplication or production charged by such vendors exceed the routine charges set forth in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5, the requester shall pay the actual direct cost of same without any additional surcharge for labor costs.
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, redact, sort and/or assemble records), charges may be imposed as follows:
Digital records. If a request for governmental records involves production or conversion of digital or computerized records or film which is in a medium not routinely used by the agency (i.e., electronic or film); not routinely developed or maintained by an agency; or requires a substantial amount of manipulation or programming of information technology, the requester shall pay fees and special charges incurred by the City if the conversion is done directly by the City as follows: