|FROM TIME TO TIME – A Quarterly Report on the Activities
Of the New Jersey League of Municipalities
January - March, 2007
We have advocated for municipalities in Trenton by …
- Analyzing the Administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year (FY ’08) to determine its impact on property taxes.
- Presenting testimony by League President Mayor Dave DelVecchio of Lambertville on the budget proposal before the Assembly Budget Committee and the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
- Urging the Governor to veto the proposed new 4% cap on the local purposes property tax levy, or, at a minimum, to conditionally veto the bill so as not to discourage local actions to reduce debt.
- Urging reasonable and workable reforms to the use of eminent domain.
- Supporting a sales tax exemption on local parking and other municipally provided services.
- Working to eliminate onerous provisions in the new Comptroller bill.
We have advocated for municipalities in Washington by …
- Analyzing and reporting on key provisions in the Administration’s proposal for our next Federal budget (FY ’08).
- Continuing to work with our State Delegation to protect the Community Development Block Grant program, the Section 8 Housing Voucher program and other programs vital to our constituents and to community and economic development.
- Cooperating with the National League of Cities (NLC) and other New Jersey and National Associations to educate Members of Congress on the importance of local governments’ authority to manage and collect revenue for the use of their local rights-of-way and the problems that would be created by Federal preemption of those rights in the Telecommunications Act under consideration.
- Working with NLC and our Delegation to protect our authority to exercise eminent domain for economic development and to minimize new federal restrictions on the use of eminent domain.
- Supporting reforms to eliminate the loophole, under the federal railroad act, which allows solid waste facilities to gain exemptions from local and state regulation.
We have strengthened local leadership capacity by …
- Dedicating the Roebling Mansion at 222 West State Street as the League’s new headquarters.
- Publishing and distributing 15th Annual “New Laws of Interest to NJ Municipalities.”
- Creating the League Task Force on Immigration Issues, chaired by Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes.
- Creating the Mayors Committee on a Green Future, in order to raise the environmental consciousness of municipalities statewide surrounding such issues as the feasibility of solar panel installation on municipal buildings, use of hybrid vehicles and use of green
- Hosting the first statewide meeting of Mayors for a Green Future, attended by 125 concerned local government officials, at the Bloustein School at Rutgers on March 15.
- Cosponsoring and participating in the “2nd Transit Village Symposium,” at Rutgers University, to promote and encourage the fostering of Smart Growth principles.
- Since initiating, with the State’s Department of Health and Senior Services, over two years ago, over 200 mayors have joined the “Mayors’ Wellness Campaign,” to combat obesity and promote local opportunities for a more active and healthier lifestyle.
- Conducting a half-day State legislative/ budget update for Mayors on January 17.
- Conducting two seminars for Newly and Reelected Officials on January 27 and February 9.
- Sending League Executive Director Bill Dressel to speak at 5 County League and County Mayors’ Association meetings in Bergen, Ocean, Morris and Cape May counties.
- Publishing the latest edition of our annual “Federal Directory”
- Publishing and distributing an informative pamphlet to educate citizens on the “Property Tax in New Jersey”
We have provided municipal officials with resources for problem solving by …
- Implementing a “Shared Service Board” on our website. This new board enables members to post services or equipment that they would like to share and invites other municipalities to share with them.
- Publishing the fifteenth edition, volume one, of the Arbitration Reporter, in January.
- Continuing our Grant Consultation relationship with Bohse & Associates, Inc. and providing educational monthly articles and featured grant links. Currently we are researching the possibility of adding tele-seminars on grant writing to our calendar.
- Hosting and administering year-round education seminars to help local officials deal with and solve issues and problems at the municipal level.
- Establishing the Gang Prevention and Youth Violence Task Force, chaired by Mayor Bob Bowser of East Orange, to develop and promote a comprehensive and compassionate approach to the large and growing gang epidemic infecting New Jersey. Mayor Bowser has represented the League at a Press Conference and at a seminar at Princeton University on the problem; and he has led the Task Force in discussions with the Administration that led to Governor Corzine’s new anti-gang initiatives.
- Made available audio recordings of dozens of educational sessions from the Annual Conference
- Provided State-wide distribution of copies of the League’s COPE Report which provides comprehensive review of impact of pension and health benefits on local government.
- Conducted three (3) series seminar on Gang Deterrence as an outgrowth to favorable responses to League’s previous efforts.
- Providing an informational Legal Consultation Service through the Bureau of Municipal Information for municipal officials.
- Keeping municipal officials advised of legal developments affecting municipalities on such subjects as the videotaping of municipal meetings by the public, the status of the “firefighter rule”, and the collection of fees by mayors performing marriages and civil unions.
- Reviewing proposed regulations for municipal impact and commenting if appropriate.
We have promoted municipal government by …
- We authorized several op-ed pieces defending the principles of home rule, self-determination and the need for property tax reform. Multiple pieces ran in the Newark Star-Ledger, the Trenton Times, the Asbury Park Press, the Bergen Record and across the State.
- Regular Media Alerts to the press, covering every aspect of new public policy developments in Trenton.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.