Open Public Records Act (OPRA)

** NOTICE REGARDING THE BOROUGH OF LODI'S NEW ELECTRONIC OPRA FORM AND PROCESS STARTING 11/5/2018**

The New Jersey Public Records Act (OPRA) gives New Jersey citizens greater access to public inspection and duplication of disclosable government records through the filing of an OPRA request. It is important to know that OPRA does not cover the judicial branch or municipal court, as they are regulated by other statutes. 

What is considered a government record?

A government record is a record that has a government purpose and that is held by a public agency. Under OPRA, the physical record includes any paper, written or printed book, document, drawing, map, plan, photograph, microfilm, data-processed or image-processed document and information stored or maintained electronically or by sound recording. 

What government documents are accessible?

For the most part, all government records are accessible to the public except those that fall under the exemptions to the public access as set forth in OPRA. Accessible records include but are not limited to: minutes of public meetings, budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts and property record cards.

Why are some records exempt from disclosure?

Under OPRA, certain records are exempt from access to the public because citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding records in possession of a public agency and public safety concerns. Exempt documents include but are not limited to: social security numbers, unlisted telephone numbers, driver's license numbers, personnel and pension records except for specific information identified as follows: a) an individual's name, title, position, salary, payroll record, length of service, date of separation and the reason for such separation, and the amount and type of any pension received b) when authorized by an individual of interest, any record within attorney-client privilege. Full list of OPRA exemptions

How do I obtain a government record from the Borough of Lodi?

It is important to note that you need to know and disclose what record(s) you want. In order for your request to be processed you will be required to provide an accurate description of each record sought. To obtain a government record you must file a records request which is available on-line as well as in Room 202 of Borough Hall. If you wish to complete the request on-line you may submit it via the on-line form.

When can I expect to receive the documents requested?

Any record that is readily available to the Borough Clerk will be processed at the time of the request. We will make every effort to provide access as soon as it is requested. For records that are not immediately available, the Borough Clerk has seven (7) business days from the time it is received in the office which houses the document to provide the information requested, deny access or inform the requester of the additional time it will take to fulfill the request. If the request involves a large amount of information or the information is archived, both the requester and Borough Clerk will agree to an extension of time. 

What happens if my request is denied?

If the Borough Clerk denies the request you may file a complaint with the Government Records Council (GRC) for relief. Please see  "A Citizen's Guide to the Open Public Record's Act" on the State's website for more information.

Fees

The copy fee is $.05 per page. At the discretion of the Borough Clerk, a deposit may be required for large requests. Tapes, maps, hearing transcripts, exhibits, drawings, etc. will be charged based upon the actual cost to the Borough for reproduction. In addition, a special service charge may be assessed whenever an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort is required to fulfill a request because of the nature, format, manner of collation or volume of government records requested. The Borough Clerk will inform the requester of these special charges and shall require approval in writing prior to reproduction.