New Jersey public bodies that have not yet embraced the Internet will be forced to do so in 2013. A law taking effect on February 1, 2013, will require all State, regional, environmental and local authorities, boards and commissions to maintain an Internet website or webpage. The goal is to provide increased public access to the authority, board, or commission’s operations and activities.
As detailed in a recent Local Finance Notice, the types of information and documents that must be provided are determined by the function of the public body. For instance, the requirements for a county park commission differ from a fire district. More broadly, all state authorities, boards, and commissions must post annual budgets, annual financial statements, annual audits, public meeting notices, meeting minutes, all resolutions of the entity, and contact information for the entity’s management.
The Notice also reminds New Jersey municipalities of their existing obligation to provide adopted budgets on their websites for public inspection. If the municipality does not have a website, the budget can be provided for public inspection on the website of the Department of Community Affairs.
As we previously discussed on this New Jersey Public Law Blog, the format of local budgets posted online may change this year. The Local Finance Board recently filed a rule proposal to implement the “user-friendly” budget statute. Comments on the rule close in February.
Because the obligations for each type of entity are very specific, we recommend reading the law closely. For additional assistance, we encourage you to contact a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Public Law Group.