|May 23, 2008
A-500, Affordable Housing
Yesterday, the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee considered and approved A-500, which the League opposes. Please see our Dear Mayor letter of May 6 for our review of the bill, as introduced.
The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which could consider the bill in June. There is a likelihood that the bill will be voted on by the full General Assembly before the Legislature recesses for the summer. We suggest contacting the Appropriation Committee members, as well as your Assembly representatives, with your concerns as soon as possible.
Yesterday, the committee adopted amendments to the bill, one of which is a major concern to local governments. The original bill proposed to replace RCA funding with a $20 million appropriation from revenues garnered from the realty transfer fee. But now, that has been removed and the bill now appropriates $20 million from the revenues of the 2.5% nonresidential development fee (i.e. the commercial development fee,) which is also created by A-500.
Bottom line is these amendments result in $20 million less than the bill as originally introduced; diluting a source of funding that was already woefully inadequate. We can only presume that our taxpayers will again be asked to make up for this undeniable shortfall.
The amendments also removed language that would have required COAH to determine an additional housing obligation for “middle income” households; changed the language regarding the forfeiture of municipal trust fund dollars so that a municipality would have to commit the dollars to be spent within four years, but not necessarily expend those dollars, to avoid the State seizing the funds; and added language regarding replacement housing for deed restricted units lost as a result of redevelopment. We are reviewing the amendments, and will provide our analysis in our next correspondence on this legislation.
League President Robert Bowser presented a statement on behalf of the League. He was joined in opposition to A-500 by Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery. League Associate Counsel Ed Schmierer also joined us to provide needed technical expertise. Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer offered changes to the bill for the Committee’s consideration. We thank them all for their continued support.
Perhaps the most compelling testimony of the day was offered by residents of Cranbury Township. Our compliments to the residents for their willingness to come to Trenton, wait several hours and present their testimony to the Committee.
Questions on this letter can be directed to Mike Cerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.