The Borough of Flemington has made the news recently when it voted to impose an automatic special service charge on all OPRA requests that the Custodian estimates will take over two hours to fulfill. When the Custodian receives such a request, she will provide an estimate to the requestor who will then have to pay one-third of the costs in advance.
We previously discussed the imposition of special service charges on this blog. While OPRA does permit a special service charge where a request requires an “extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to accommodate,” as previously discussed, neither the courts nor the GRC have considered a mere two hours of time to be an “extraordinary expenditure of time.”
The Borough will likely find significant opposition, and perhaps a legal challenge, to this new policy.