FROM TIME TO TIME – A Quarterly Report on the Activities
Of the New Jersey League of Municipalities
October - December, 2007
We have advocated for municipalities in Trenton by …
- Promoting Public Question #1, asking the voters to amend the State Constitution to dedicate an additional one-half cent of the sales tax to property tax relief.
- League President Robert Bowser, Mayor East Orange along with league Assistant Counsel Ed Schmierer testified at a hearing of the Assembly Housing Committee on and Affordable Housing package designed to meet the Administration's goal of 100,000 affordable housing units over the next ten years.
- Advocating for an exception to the new levy cap for municipal funding of local public libraries and for municipal matches and investments on which state grants and other support is contingent
- Advocating for an exception to the new levy cap for debt reduction and retirement
- Successful in securing reimbursement to municipalities for specified expenses related to 2008 February Presidential Primary. Ongoing communication to municipalities on reimbursement procedures.
- Supporting reasonable and workable reforms to the use of eminent domain.
- Successfully advocated against the NJ Law Revision Commission’s recommendation to revise Title 44 to add further responsibilities to municipalities that no longer operate a General Assistance program.
We have advocated for municipalities in Washington by …
- Promoting increased COPS funding for vital public safety investments
- Championing provisions in the Senate Energy Bill, sponsored by Senator Menendez, which would provide ‘green’ grants to local governments
- Coordinating New Jersey support for Amtrak reauthorization
- 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 advocated by Congressman Palone 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 ...
- Entering into a partnership with the NJ Law Journal in promoting the lst Annual Municipal Law Desktop resource manual
- Conducting League’s Ninth Annual Mayors’ Legislative Priority Survey. Reported results of survey to mass media.
- 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.
- The League Executive Board created the Mayors School Funding Committee chaired by Mayor Jun Choi of Edison. The committee, comprised of 23 mayors and other educational experts including Ernie Reock, Professor Emeritus from Rutgers, had three meetings with a broad spectrum of Educational organizations on their perspectives on the Administration's School Funding proposal. The Committee also convened a two day retreat at the Educational Testing Service in Lawrence which included presentations by various Administration officials including Governor Corzine. In Late December the Committee released their report to the Legislature and public at a Trenton Press conference.
- The Mayors Committee for a Green Future met three times this quarter. They also presented two sessions at the League Annual Conference on Green Buildings and other conservation strategies. The Committee is planning a Spring Summit on Energy conservation issues in conjunction with various business groups and New Jersey Network.
- The League's special standing committee on monetization met with the Governor's chief of Staff Bradley Abelow on the Administration's plans to restructure the State's debt and fund the State's Transportation Trust Fund.
- Hosting the 8th Annual Save the Wrecking Ball event at its headquarters building, The Roebling Mansion which was sponsored by the Trenton Historical Society. The event raised over $20,000 which will be used to help fund a variety of programs designed to preserve and restore historic properties.
- Facilitating 9 "2007 Continuing Education Seminars," with attendance of 650, generating $55,000 in gross revenue, with a net profit of $38,000
- Producing continuing educational curriculum content, speaker recruitment, and logistical planning for 30 Professional Development Seminars, to-date, offered from January to June 2008. This represents a 30% increase in seminar offerings in FY: 07-08, from FY: 06-07
- Submitting and receiving approval from the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy for the League to offer Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours to CPAs and RMAs, expanding the demographics, which in turn will generate increased revenue.
- Sponsoring with DCA the Innovation In Governance Awards.
We have provided municipal officials with resources for problem solving by …
- Forming a new partnership with Triad Associates. Triad will be replacing Bohse & Associates as our Grants Consulting Team in the year 2008.
- Continuing to provide several resource centers on our website including, but not limited to: the Grant Resource Center, the Aging and Senior Resource Center, a Purchasing Resource Center and an Ordinance Library.
- Publishing the 2008 Salary Survey (published bi-annually).
- Publishing the 2008 Police and Fire Selected Contract Provisions and Salary Guides (published annually). These four booklets are part of our Labor Data Contract Service (which also includes four issues of the Arbitration Reporter published each year).
- Hosting and administering year-round education seminars to help local officials deal with and solve issues and problems at the municipal level.
- Joining Governor Corzine at the unveiling of his anti-gang initiatives on the State House steps. Our Gang Prevention and Youth Violence Task Force, chaired by Mayor Bob Bowser of East Orange, participated in the development and promotion of this comprehensive and compassionate approach to the large and growing gang epidemic infecting New Jersey. Mayor Bowser and East Orange City Police Director Jose M. Cordero also joined Attorney General Anne Milgram at the League’s crime fighting workshop at Princeton University. Mayor Bowser has led the Task Force in discussions with the Legislature promoting Governor Corzine’s new anti-gang initiatives.
- Making available audio recordings of dozens of educational sessions from the Annual Conference
- Providing an informational Legal Consultation Service through the Bureau of Municipal Information for municipal officials.
- Keeping municipal officials advised of legal developments affecting municipalities.
- Reviewing proposed regulations for municipal impact and commenting if appropriate.
- Publishing the 2007 - 2008 Elected Officials Handbook
- Summiting on pension and benefit issues at the Mayors’ Pension and Health benefits Summit.
- Conducting the 92nd Annual New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference with more than 100 educational sessions.
We have promoted municipal government by …
- Authoring 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.
- Inducting 21 mayors into the Mayors Hall of Fame.