2014 Annual Report
William G. Dressel, Jr.
As we meet in Atlantic City, this year, our focus is on prosperity, and how partnerships are essential to produce and protect it. That was the focus of State leaders, back in 1776 - the year that New Jersey attained independent statehood. It was also the focus of the municipal leaders who founded the League of Municipalities in 1915. They established a partnership that has been sustained and strengthened by successive generations of local public servants – through war and peace, through depressions, recessions and recoveries, and through monumental social, cultural and technological changes that the founders could never have seen coming.
It takes courage to campaign for local office. It takes self-confidence. And it takes a lot of commitment. But it is when you take the oath of office that the real test begins. You can count on the support of your team of dedicated professionals – your municipal manager or administrator, your municipal clerk, your finance officer, municipal attorney and all the other department heads. Your predecessor in office or your colleagues in town or elsewhere in your county might be willing to help, as well. And, of course, the League of Municipalities was created as a resource you can use to better serve your fellow citizens. Again this year, all 565 municipalities joined together as partners in the League of Municipalities. Together, you help to make municipal government in New Jersey the best it can possibly be.
Below is the annual report of the activities of your League of Municipalities for 2014.
The League Associate Counsel-Staff Attorney Ed Purcell and the League General Counsel William Kearns monitor court decisions that may affect municipalities and bring important decisions to the attention of municipal officials. Ed monitors proposed state regulations and prepares comments on those with municipal impact.
Additionally, the League offers a legal consultation service for municipal attorneys. The League’s legal department is situated at the confluence of many important legal and policy areas and is an excellent resource for municipal attorneys. Our legal department cannot be a replacement for a town’s municipal attorney. Rather, we are an excellent resource for sharing knowledge and providing guidance for the attorneys who counsel New Jersey’s municipalities. If an elected official needs legal advice, that question should be directed to their municipal attorney. We invite any municipal attorney who requires guidance to contact the League’s legal department for assistance. This service does not offer “second opinions” or alternatives to elected officials, their municipal attorney who should be their primary source of legal advice. Under no circumstances will the NJLM legal service establish a client relationship with individual municipal officials or municipalities. Only municipal attorneys currently engaged with New Jersey municipalities may access this service.
Additionally, the League General Counsel and the Amicus Curiae Committee considers requests from municipalities or municipal attorneys for intervention in court cases on behalf of specific local governments in appropriate cases of broad municipal importance in cases pending in the Supreme Court or Appellate Division. In the past year, the League’s Associate Counsels have advocated for municipal interest in front of the Appellate Division and Supreme Court in a variety of cases.
In Re: Failure of Council on Affordable Housing to Adopt Trust Fund Commitment Regulations filed before the Appellate Division. This case deals with COAH’s lack of guidance in defining the term “committed” under the Fair Housing Act and the ability of COAH to seize “uncommitted” affordable housing trust funds from municipalities. The League was able to have COAH’s May 1, 2013 decision invalidated in part. The Court ordered COAH to follow a new process to assure due process for municipalities and other parties. Municipalities responded to COAH’s letter in August of 2013. At this time the State has not taken any action to seize these funds. Jeff Surenian Esq. is representing the League in this case. Raritan Borough v. Gannet Newspapers filed before the Appellate Division. The trial court issued its final determination against Raritan this spring. Raritan is appealing. This case involves: 1) whether a municipality must “create” a document out of data located on a digital server; and 2) if they must create such a document, whether a municipality can assess a special service fee for the formatting of digital documents. Ed Purcell Esq. is representing the League in this case.
Tumpson v. Farina was filed before the New Jersey Supreme Court. This case deals with the New Jersey Civil Rights Act and whether or not a violation of a substantive right is actionable under this law. It also deals with whether a facially deficient petition under the Faulkner Act must be filed by the clerk. The League was asked to participate as amicus on behalf of the City of Hoboken. Ed Purcell Esq. argued on behalf of the League at the end of March. The Supreme Court handed down a decision in July, determining that the facially deficient petitions must be filed under the Faulkner Act and that the New Jersey Civil Rights Act applies to violations of substantive rights. Timber Glen Phase III v. Hamilton Township filed before the Appellate Division. This case deals with the ability of a municipality to license residential rental properties to ensure compliance with local health and safety regulations. At issue is the applicability of an amendment of the Licensing Act, P.L. 1997 c. 317, to the township’s ordinance. Ed Purcell Esq. is representing the League in this case.
Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co. filed before the State Supreme Court. This case deals with the applicability of the six year general statute of limitation to actions taken under the Spill Act. The Appellate Division had held that the statute of limitations applied. The League takes the position as amicus that this decision was incorrect and that the Spill Act should be exempted from the statute of limitations. Ed Purcell Esq. is representing the League in this case. Borough of Keyport v. I.U.O.E., Local 68 filed before the State Supreme Court. This case deals with whether temporary layoffs done pursuant to the Civil Service Act are required to be negotiated under the New Jersey Employer Employee Relations Act. The Appellate Division adopted the League’s position, that temporary layoffs are not negotiable. Ed Purcell Esq. is representing the League in this case.
Verizon v. Hopewell filed before the Tax Court. This case deals with the ability of Verizon to unilaterally cease paying the Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT) to a municipality when it determined that it no longer provides 51% of landline service to that municipality. This is an issue of extraordinary municipal import. Joel Shain Esq. is representing the League in this case. Princeton Office Park v. Plymouth Park Tax Services, LLC. Was filed before the State Supreme Court. This case deals with a question certified by the Third Circuit Appellate Court, whether under New Jersey law a tax sale certificate purchaser holds a tax lien. The Court held that the purchaser of a tax sale certificate, does indeed under New Jersey law, also hold a tax lien. This was the position taken by the League. Keith Bonchi Esq. represented the League in this case.
In a year when the news about the State’s budget kept getting worse and worse, it was not easy to get State policy makers to focus too much attention on municipal priorities. Added to that was one of the most severe winters in recent memory, while all were engaged in ongoing efforts to recover from SuperStorm Sandy. Throughout these challenges, we were involved in a number of important public policy campaigns. Here are a few. Efforts to keep the Cap on Binding Arbitration Contract Awards alive were led by League President and Stone Harbor Mayor Suzanne Walters and by League Management Reform Committee Chair and Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz. Failure to extend the interest arbitration cap would authorize arbitrators to impose excessive awards that would immediately threaten funding for all other municipal services. Such awards would force municipalities throughout the State to further reduce or even eliminate crucial services, personnel, and long-overdue infrastructure improvement projects in order to fund an arbitration award. On March 27, the Legislature approved a bill that would have provided a temporary extension, but which also included provisions that would have undermined the cap’s intent. Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the bill, and sent it back to the Legislature with his recommended changes. The Senate immediately accepted the Governor’s conditions, but the Assembly adjourned without taking action on the extension. After two and a half months of hearing from local officials, State policy makers arrived at a compromise that will protect municipal property taxpayers from arbitration awards that would jeopardize property taxpayers and municipal services.
The failure of the State to deliver workable Affordable Housing Rules highlighted a series of battles on housing, land use and economic redevelopment issues. Mayors also led efforts to find a stable source of funding for open space preservation. Bills to prohibit municipal registration of multi-family dwellings were debated. Efforts were made to extend the moratorium on affordable housing development fees. Bills to transfer municipal beach management powers to counties were introduced. Again on these, the articulate and timely action of well-informed local officials allowed the League to win allies, including community action and environmental activists not always in our camp. In response to a League Resolution, we saw the passage of a bill to permit counties and municipalities to use snow removal reserve funds for clearance of debris following a declaration of emergency by the President or the Governor. We pushed for passage of a bill that would clarify the responsibility of certain telecommunications corporations to continue to remit Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT) payments to municipalities. The League opposed bills that would have required the release of a bidders’ list to potential contractors and another that would mandate video recordings of all traffic stops. Again, Mayors and other local officials willing to come to Trenton to testify on these matters made a world of difference for their colleagues all around our Garden State.
Our Governmental Affairs staff is always eager to hear from you, so that they can better serve you and your municipality. Please contact them with your questions, comments and ideas.
A host of local government issues arose in Washington over the past 12 months. We were involved in most. Two regulatory matters, two legislative initiatives and one ominous threat deserve special mention.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new Cell Tower Rules that could threaten local Land Use and Construction controls. The proposal could result in the adoption of new regulations that would expedite regulatory reviews by limiting the kinds of issues local governments can consider, and in some cases preempt any local government review of siting applications for collocation of wireless transmission devices. These rules could allow the wireless industry to build on to existing towers, with little or no regard to local planning, zoning or building codes. It could also require unconditional local approval of industry plans to append wireless facilities to utility poles, light poles and road signs. The proposal had the potential to go as far as considering any structure capable of holding a wireless antenna (like a water tank, office building or even a single family home) to be a “wireless tower” and would apply the new FCC rules to all of these.
On behalf of the League and New Jersey municipalities, our Special Counsel, Joel Shain, Esq., submitted comments, urging the FCC to substantially amend the proposal, prior to adoption, in order to protect the interests of local residents and governing bodies. League President, Mayor Suzanne Walters of Stone Harbor, and Third Vice President, Mayor Brian Wahler of Piscataway (who also serves as the Chair of our Telecommunications Policy Task Force) encouraged all New Jersey municipalities to contact the FCC on this matter. Also on the regulatory front, President Walters and League Past President Chuck Chiarello (who also Chairs our Emergency Medical Services Task Force) led our efforts to clarify the Status of Volunteers under the Affordable Care Act. The concern arose due to the fact that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) includes volunteer first responders in the definition of ‘employee’ that it uses for Income Tax (W-2 form) purposes. Unless the status of these volunteers, under the ACA, was to be clarified, their agencies or municipalities could possibly be required to provide them with health insurance or pay a penalty. Municipalities served by volunteer agencies cannot afford to offer expensive benefits. While many municipalities provide Length of Service Award Payments (LOSAPs) or other incentives to show appreciation to volunteers for their service, having to provide health insurance would be impossible.
We were gratified when the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) issued a policy clarification, which concluded that, “… the forthcoming final regulations relating to employer shared responsibility generally will not require volunteer hours of bona fide volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel at governmental or tax-exempt organizations to be counted when determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents).” New Jersey municipalities, led by President Walters and First Vice President and Eatontown Mayor Gerry Tarantolo, turned to Congress, in order to gain relief from sky-rocketing flood insurance rates. In 2012, President Obama signed into law the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12). The new law was designed to make the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) more financially stable, by reflecting true flood risks in communities. Unanticipated consequences of the Act, including rapidly increasing flood insurance premiums in affected communities, became apparent in the aftermath of a series of natural disasters, including Hurricane Sandy.
In response to five- to ten-fold premium increases, at our Conference last November, League members approved New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference Resolution No. 2013-11 – a Resolution Recommending Amendments to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The relief bill was co-sponsored by our Senator Robert Menendez and by Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia. We want to thank Senator Menendez and Senator Booker, as well as Congressmen Frelinghuysen, Holt, Lance, LoBiondo, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Runyan, Sires and Smith for their support. On Friday, March 21, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3370, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.
As you know, with certain narrow and rare exceptions, New Jersey municipalities do not levy sales taxes. But we do host Main Street merchants, who should not be put at a competitive disadvantage, when compared to the “virtual” merchants who hawk their wares in cyberspace. Merchants who maintain a physical presence in our communities not only pay property taxes, which are used to pave and police our roads, to build and staff our schools and libraries, to secure and preserve our parks and recreational facilities. They also employ our fellow citizens, who, in turn, pay income taxes, and who buy homes and pay their own property taxes. But that is just the start of what our hometown merchants contribute to the community. They contribute to local charities, sponsor youth sports teams and, in a thousand other ways, they give life to the communities that contribute to their prosperity. That is why the New Jersey League has been a long time proponent of internet tax equity. One year ago, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act (S.743), a bill which would level the sales tax playing field for online and “bricks and mortar” retailers by requiring internet merchants to collect sales taxes on online purchases. The Senate passed the bill 69-27 last year. It is estimated that the absence of this requirement costs $23 billion in lost sales tax revenues for state and local governments, all across the Nation. To date, the House has not considered this legislation. We continue to push for favorable action on this initiative.
Once again, negotiations on Federal spending, the debt and the deficit could place in jeopardy programs and services of vital importance. In anticipation of the possibility that this could mean another round of base closings, Governor Christie has created the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, which will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. New Jersey’s vital defense and national security facilities include Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Picatinny Arsenal, the Naval Weapons Station Earle, the 177th Air National Guard Wing in Atlantic City, and the Cape May Coast Guard Training Center. Aside from their vital importance to our national interests, these facilities employ tens of thousands of New Jerseyans and contribute billions of dollars to our State’s economy. We thank League Past President and Mount Arlington Mayor Art Ondish and Second Vice President and West Caldwell Mayor Joe Tempesta for their leadership on military and veterans’ issues, in general, and on this matter, in particular.
Our thanks to the Federal Advocacy staff at the National League of Cities (NLC) for their efforts on behalf of all municipalities. They serve us well as our eyes, our ears and, often, our voices in our Nation’s Capital.
BUREAU OF MUNICIPAL INFORMATION
The League offers an online information center to provide services and resources to assist our local government membership. You can find the Bureau at njslom.org/bureau. The resources and services available through the Bureau have been compiled to educate local governments and assist them in operating more efficiently. The online Bureau of Municipal Information received an overhaul this spring to improve its appearance and make it easier to navigate. Also redesigned were the Ordinance and Shared Service Agreement libraries, making them more user friendly and easier to search. The resources offered through the Bureau are continually being expanded and improved upon.
Included in the services offered is an Ordinance Consultation Service. All members can access this service for free via telephone or email by contacting Ed Purcell, the League’s Staff Attorney. Ed, who heads the Bureau, provides municipal officials and employees with knowledge and analysis, as well as sample ordinances. If you have an issue and you want an informal consultation with an attorney knowledgeable in municipal law, contact Ed Purcell at the League, extension 137, or at email@example.com. This service provides a consultation and not legal advice. For legal advice your first call should be to your municipal attorney. The Bureau continues to expand its offerings of publications available to members. Publications are updated regularly by the League’s Grants Coordinator, Taran Samhammer, and a full list is available at njslom.org/Publications.html. In 2014 the League also reformatted the Quarterly Arbitration Reporter. This printed book was changed to a quarterly digital newsletter and includes not only summaries of the most recent awards published, but also information on pending related legislation, articles and arbitration trends.
The League’s Grant Resource Center continues to be an excellent online resource for grant research, featuring monthly articles and links to open grant opportunities. The Grant News & Information page is updated regularly and features up-to-the-minute grant news. Members may also utilize the League’s Grants Advisory Service, free of charge, to answer general grant questions and receive guidance from a professional consultant. The Interlocal Advisory Center is an online ready-reference center for shared service agreements and joint consolidation, and includes links to sample shared service agreements, New Jersey’s interlocal statutes and various other references you may want to review during preparation and implementation of agreements in your municipality. Additionally, the center offers a consultation service with a contracted professional that has first-hand experience in consolidation agreements.
This year the League added a new resource center to its lineup for social media, a method for communicating with residents that has grown substantially in popularity. The Social Media Resource Center provides resources and information for municipalities wishing to start a presence on social media websites. The above resource centers are coordinated by League Staff Member Taran Samhammer, Bureau Services and Research Coordinator for the Bureau of Municipal Information. Taran updates these research tools on a regular basis, and is available to assist communities in arranging for the utilization of our consultation services.
The League, in conjunction with the New Jersey Municipal Management Association, continues its successful Recruitment Advisory Service. This service does not make specific candidate recommendations or recruitments, but it provides information and reference materials, as well as a consultation with a retired manager to discuss the overall recruitment process and answer questions. While the above is a sampling of what the Bureau of Municipal Information offers, in total the Bureau provides resources and information on over 20 topics. You may visit the Bureau website at njslom.org/bureau.
NEW JERSEY MUNICIPALITIES
NJ Municipalities, the League’s award winning magazine, underwent a major redesign in April. The new format is easier to access and more fun to read. The changes include the new NJ Now section which features news and helpful information for the busy municipal official. In addition, each issue will include a special section, called Focus, which will explore a specific municipal issue.
With over 7,000 readers and a vast pass-along readership, the magazine continues to be a vital source of information. Its monthly issues provide the news and information you need to govern in your local community. Members of the state and national legislatures also read the magazine to keep abreast of municipal issues.
In writing for the magazine, League members share their views and ideas with a wide range of managers and policymakers. I’m happy to report that for the sixth year in a row a record number of New Jersey mayors submitted articles. In addition to your articles, New Jersey Municipalities includes a mix of articles by state commissioners and other experts, as well as informative columns, opinion pieces and advertising by some of the state’s leading providers of products and services.
- Nine issues of New Jersey Municipalities were published in 2014. • The number and quality of articles submitted continues to increase. This year the average page count was 91 pages.
- The magazine includes articles that feature large, small, rural and urban communities in all parts of the state. Our diverse offerings and increased use of shorter articles has made the magazine even more useful to busy leaders.
- We’ve expanded our use of color photographs and improved both cover and interior design. The changes make the publication more accessible and enjoyable
- The New Jersey State League of Municipalities is dedicated to environmentally and socially responsible operations. We print on Sappi McCoy Gloss 100lb Text (cover) and Sappi Flo Gloss 70lb Text, industry leading environmentally responsible papers. McCoy and Flo contain 10 percent post consumer waste and FSC chain of custody certification.
As always, we welcome your calls, ideas and articles for our premier publication. Contact the magazine’s Managing Editor Kyra Duran at (609) 695-3481 ext. 123 or NJM@njslom.com to contribute an article or to learn more.
TRAINING AND IN-SERVICE PROGRAMS
New Jersey municipal leaders face tough challenges in providing good government and service to constituents and citizens. League Professional Development Programs provide elected officials as well as municipal and county personnel with a great resource. Every year the League holds a series of webinars and in person seminars by knowledgeable speakers on timely and key topics, providing up-to-date information to help solve problems and clarify legislation for better governance. The venues provide an environment conducive to providing a true learning experience.
The objective of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities is to present programs that broaden, deepen, and increase knowledge or skills of municipal personnel in various professions while collaborating with Affiliate Groups. Approved continuing education programs provide many municipal professionals the opportunity to renew their respective state licenses. The League has expanded its sponsorship agreements and works cohesively with numerous accreditation bodies representing 10 government licensees including New Jersey Continuing Legal Education (NJCLE) and Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (PACLE). In 2013/2014, the League offered 26 professional development seminars and webinars, educating more than 2,000 attendees. Some of those programs were:
- Grant Funding • Orientation for Newly Elected, Re-Elected, and Experienced Officials
- 22nd Annual Mayors’ Legislative Day • Budget Audits and Updates
- Family Medical Leave Act and ADA Compliance • Review of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA)
- Mini One Day Conference • Social Media
- Legal Issues Surrounding Social Media
- A Review of the New COAH Regulations
- User Friendly Budgets • Labor Relations Primer
- A Review of the Affordable Healthcare Act(ACA) Visit the League’s website at www.njslom.org/seminars for a listing of upcoming Professional Development Seminars.
For additional information contact Danielle Holland-Htut, our Program Meetings Specialist, at (609) 695-3481 ext. 118 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LABOR RELATIONS ADVISORY SERVICE
The League’s Labor Relations Advisory Service is conducted by the League’s Labor Relations Counsel, Brian Kronick, and his colleague, Joseph Hannon of Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster LLC. Brian Kronick and Joseph Hannon are available to respond to a broad range of public employer labor and employment law questions as a telephone or email service of the League. Inquiries to the League Labor Advisory Service over the years have included issues like the new interest arbitration reforms and the 2% cap on awards under the 45 day “rocket docket”, furloughs and temporary layoffs, health benefit and pension reforms, and perennial problems municipalities face in police and fire and civilian collective negotiations, Public Employment Relations Commission unfair practices and representation matters, Shared Service issues, Civil Service issues, FMLA and NJFLA issues, FLSA and wage and hour issues, Americans with Disabilities Act issues, and Equal Employment Opportunity and New Jersey Law Against Discrimination issues. You may contact Brian at email@example.com or Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For 99 years, local officials have gathered annually in the pursuit of good local government. The three-day Annual Conference remains a critical mainstay in the portfolio of services provided by the League. By serving 17,000 people, it is the single largest local government event in the United States. Offering hundreds of exhibits showing products and services to aid municipalities, it is a central point for learning what is out there to meet local governments’ needs. Pre-Registration, at just $55, is the most affordable way for municipal officials to gain new solutions to both the perennial issues and the changing challenges. Some of the features of this year’s conference will be
- 92 League educational sessions and more than 50 additional sessions produced by affiliated municipal professional associations.
- Primers for newly elected governing body members.
- Sessions focused on ethics training.
- New technical skills and new technologies creating new efficiencies.
- Information on economic development; planning; management and leadership and understanding initiatives coming from State government
- Insurance training sessions that result in premium reductions for attendees
- The largest municipal exhibit hall in the country The conference is also a chance to acknowledge local officials’ dedication to public service and the work of their colleagues in municipal government across the state.
The 2014 Annual Conference provides all these opportunities while continuing to charge the lowest registration rate of any municipal league in the country.
NJLM EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION
In 2013-2014 the League of Municipalities Educational Foundation once again held educational programs, supported literacy efforts, secured grants and continued to publish its “Friends of Local Government” white paper series. We published white papers on:
- “Expiring Affordability Controls - Maintaining Affordable Housing in our Municipalities” by David Kinsey, FAICP, PP and Edwin W. Schmierer, Esq.;
- “Municipal Lessons Learned From Superstorm Sandy” by Dr. Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, Ph.D from the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers-Newark;
- “New Legal Tools for Redevelopment” by Joseph J. Maraziti, Jr. Esq. and Stan Slachetka, PP AICIP; and
- “2014: The Unexpected Economic Soft Patch” by James W. Hughes Ph.D., Dean and Joseph Seneca, Ph. D, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers.
With substantial financial assistance from sponsors, the NJLM Educational Foundation hosted the following special educational events:
- “How to Restore Civility in Public Discourse”;
- “Reinventing New Jersey’s Obsolete Suburban Office Campus-The Local and Statewide Impacts”;
- “Energy 101,” a program that explained how electricity is generated and distributed and how aggregation works. It also discussed storm response and resiliency measures that municipalities can implement. In addition, there was information about programs and planning that benefits counties, municipalities and consumers.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Mayors Book Club, in partnership with the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Monmouth University, Atlantic City Electric, JCP&L, Investors Bank, and AT&T, was conducted with great success as a pilot program in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties, including a kickoff in Woodbine with Mayor William Pikolycky and in Pleasantville with Mayor Jesse Tweedle. This followed last year’s program in Monmouth and Ocean Counties involving 300 students. On Monday, June 3, 2014 representatives of the League Educational Foundation, Monmouth University Education Department and staff of the Woodmere Elementary School praised students for completing over 1,500 books, which earned the school $1,000 to be used for books. The highlight of the day’s celebration was a pizza party hosted by Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo.
In 2014 the Foundation assumed the administration of the Michael A. Pane Memorial Fund. “The Fund awards annual honorarium to a local government professional (attorney, engineer, planner) who personifies outstanding ability, integrity, and ethics in his or her dealings with local governments.”
The Educational Foundation continues to secure and administer grants in support of sustainability efforts. More than $1 million in grants is being administered from such funders as Wal-Mart Corp, BPU and others.
Over the 2014 Fiscal Year, Sustainable Jersey made great progress towards our goal of a better tomorrow, one community at a time. Whether through community outreach and involvement or the successful development and launch of a number of new projects, FY 2014 can be deemed a success, by any measure it is judged by.
The Municipal Certification Program
A total of 139 towns are currently certified – our largest certification number yet – with a total of 22 silver certified communities. Over 5,000 sustainability actions have been completed and approved over the life of the program by municipalities across the state of New Jersey. At the close of the fiscal year, 412 municipalities (73%) were participating in the program and over 84% of the State’s population lives in a registered or certified community. Over 300 Green Team volunteers, Mayors, municipal staff and business leaders joined in celebrating the 67 towns that achieved certification during our 5th Annual Sustainable Jersey Awards Luncheon at the New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference last November. This certification class included 24 new Bronze towns, 29 towns that built upon their community success by recertifying at Bronze with the program. We commend the strong leadership and commitment of all certifying towns, specifically the 14 municipalities that achieved Silver certification this year. Certified towns represent a diverse range of municipalities, from urban, suburban and rural communities and to all income levels.
Trainings, Workshops and Technical Support:
Helping municipalities continue to advance their sustainability efforts is key to making a collective impact across the state. Sustainable Jersey staff, via the info@ or our help line, responded to 2,143 requests for assistance. Recertifying towns were guided and mentored by program staff to support continued success. Sustainable Jersey also offered over 55 free workshops, webinars and training sessions on a wide range of topics which reached over 1,962 people. Efforts to “spread the word” by attending state and national conferences allowed program staff and partners to share our communities’ success stories. The success of our training programs would not be possible if not for the support provided by our State Agency partners, statewide organizations and nonprofits and the inspiring Green Team leaders who share their knowledge and expertise.
As of June 2014 a record breaking 110 towns applied for certification representing 54 new towns, 43 expiring towns applying for recertification and 13 non-expiring towns. We look forward to celebrating the efforts of these communities at our 2014 6th Annual Sustainable Jersey Awards luncheon at NJLM Annual Conference and can’t wait to announce even higher certification totals.
Our 22 volunteer supported taskforces continue to work on toolkits and actions to ensure that our program remains at the cutting edge of sustainability. The taskforces take seriously their work to effectively translate best practices into actionable steps municipalities feel confident in taking. In FY 2014, 14 new actions were introduced, ranging from Climate Adaptation Flooding Risk to Creative Placemaking, and Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans. “Sustainable Energy” is a critical practice area within the Sustainable Jersey program that was significantly expanded In FY2014 with the creation of an Energy Director position. The Energy Task Force identified a set of changes, updates, and new actions for the municipal certification program. The results of this effort will be implemented in early FY2015. The new actions focus on the areas of energy aggregation specifying the inclusion of renewable energy and electric vehicle adoption. In addition, consensus was reached on an initial slate of energy actions for the schools program. Work has accelerated on the multi-year building efficiency project funded by the US Department of Energy with Sustainable Jersey, NJ Institute of Technology, and NJ Clean Energy Program staff collaborating on the database development. Among the national cohort participating in this DOE program, the NJ team has received recognition for the strength of the data compilation and analysis efforts.
Over $615,000 in grant funding was awarded to NJ municipalities through various small grant programs. We offer special thanks and recognition to Walmart for reaching a $1,000,000 Small Grants program funding milestone in 2014 by providing $380,000 in funding for the first grant cycle. We also recognize PSEG Foundation for supporting a second Small Grants cycle which awarded $200,000 to communities across the state. PSEG Foundation has provided over $400,000 in grant program funding over the past 2 years. A $35,000 mini-round funded by the New Jersey Department of Health supported 4 towns to implement policy and environmental changes to increase opportunities for physical activity. These three rounds supported 100 Green Team municipal projects around the state that ranged from $2,000 capacity building grants to high sustainability impact projects of $20,000 such as food waste recycling to a town tax incentive program for water preservation.
Sustainable Jersey for Schools
Sustainable Jersey, in partnership with the New Jersey School Boards Association, announced the Sustainable Jersey for Schools initiative at the start of the fiscal year with a kick-off meeting at The College of New Jersey that brought together thought leaders, school related professionals, and school representatives to identify the most important issue areas in school sustainability. This meeting helped to guide the creation of 12 new, or expand the focus of current issue-based school specific task forces that have met regularly to develop actions for the launch of Sustainable Jersey for Schools at the NJSBA Workshop in October of 2015. Over 80 actions are in progress at the moment, and substantial work has been completed to develop this initiative. At the launch of Sustainable Jersey for Schools we will release a certification on framework for the 2,492 public and charter schools and over 600 school districts that is modeled off the municipal certification program – complete with actions, trainings and (with expected funding) a small grants program.
Special thanks are offered to the New Jersey School Boards Association, South Jersey Gas, NJM Insurance Group, and New Jersey Natural Gas for their “Founding” program sponsorship. The creation of this new certification program would not be possible without their financial support.
I would like to thank the support of our Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees and Ex-Officio Members for their support throughout the past year. Current board members include: Pam Mount (Chairperson), Rick Dovey (Vice-Chairperson) Anne-Marie Peracchio (Secretary), Caroline Ehrlich (Treasurer), Jane Kenny (Executive Committee Member), Clinton Andrews, Ph.D., Roland Anglin, Ph.D., John Bulina, Anthony Cancro, Maureen Hassett, Mayor Edward Mahaney, Ed. D., Wanda Monahan, Esq., Mayor Arthur Ondish, Mayor William Pikolycky, Eric Stiles, and Ex-Officio members William Dressel, Lawrence Feinsod Ed.D., Gary Finger, and Robert Marshall. A special thanks goes out to former Trustees Scott McCartney, Ana Baptista, and Sylvia Petillo, for their commitment and service to Sustainable Jersey.
The League’s Trenton staff carries out a full agenda of activities in translating League policy objectives on many fronts, but policy itself is made by over 250 mayors, other elected officials and appointed officials who serve on numerous standing and ad hoc committees.
The committees and committee chairs are:
SUZANNE M. WALTERS, Mayor, Stone Harbor Borough; President, New Jersey State League of Municipalities; Chair‚ Legislative Committee:
WILLIAM J. KEARNS, JR., ESQ., League General Counsel and
KRISTINA HADINGER, ESQ., League Associate Counsel; Co-chairs ‚ Conference Resolutions Committee:
GERALD TARANTOLO, Mayor, Eatontown Borough; League First Vice President; Chair‚ Nominating Committee:
JANICE S. MIRONOV, Mayor, East Windsor Township; Immediate Past President; Chair ‚ Pension Study Committee:
MASON NEELY, Finance Director, East Brunswick; Chair‚ League Educational Foundation:
ARTHUR R. ONDISH, Mayor, Mount Arlington; League Past President, Chair ‚ Heavy Truck Task Force:
DAVID M. DELVECCHIO, Mayor, Lambertville; League Past President; Chair‚ Emergency Management Task Force;
TIMOTHY C. MCDONOUGH, Mayor, Hope; League Past President; Chair ‚ Emergency Medical Services Task Force;
CHUCK CHIARELLO, Mayor, Buena Vista Township; League Past President; Chair‚ Land Use Law Drafting Committee:
CLIFFORD GIBBONS, ESQ.; Chair ‚ League Economic Development Task Force:
M. JAMES MALEY, JR., Mayor, Collingswood; Chair‚ League Legal Committee on Affordable Housing:
EDWARD BUZAK, ESQ.; Chair ‚ League School Tax Reform Committee:
GERALD TARANTOLO, Mayor, Eatontown; League First Vice President; Chair;
GARY PASSANANTE, Mayor, Somerdale; Member, League Executive Board; Vice Chair‚ Council on Affordable Housing Study Committee:
JANICE S. MIRONOV, Mayor, East Windsor Township; League Immediate Past President; Chair ‚ Impact Fee Study Committee:
EDWIN W. SCHMIERER, ESQ., League Assistant Council; Chair‚ Telecommunications Study Committee:
BRIAN C. WAHLER, Mayor, Piscataway; League Third Vice President; Chair ‚ League Management Reform Committee:
WILDA DIAZ, Mayor, Perth Amboy; Chair‚ League Statutory Funding Compliance Committee:
JANICE S. MIRONOV, Mayor, East Windsor; League Immediate Past President; Chair ‚ Community Development Block Grant Task Force:
J. CHRISTIAN BOLLWAGE, Mayor, Elizabeth; League Past President and
ARTHUR R. ONDISH, Mayor, Mount Arlington; League Past President; Co-Chairs‚ Civil Service Reform Study Committee:
TIMOTHY GORDON, Business Administrator, Milburn Township; Chair
*The following individuals represented the League on state-wide committees:
ANTHONY CANCRO, Township Administrator, Springfield Township – Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees, Member
PHIL COCUZZA, Public Safety Director, Lambertville – Member, Police Training Commission
WILLIAM G. DRESSEL, JR., Executive Director, State League of Municipalities — New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, Board Member; D.A.R.E. New Jersey, Board Member; New Jersey Sharing Network, Board of Trustees Member; Downtown New Jersey, Inc., Board Member; Friends of the State House, Trustee; Member, Family Readiness Council, New Jersey National Guard; Member, Employer Support of the National Guard; Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees, Ex-Officio Member
CAROLINE EHRLICH, Chief of Staff, Woodbridge – Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees, Member
CHERYL FULLER, Former Manager, Englewood — Public Employment Relations Committee, Member
WILLIAM J. KEARNS, JR., ESQ., League General Counsel — State Supreme Court’s Committee on Court Security – Member, Attorney General’s Municipal Prosecutors Oversight Committee – Member, Local Government Ethics Task Force
ROBERT V. KISER, Engineer, Princeton — Technical Advisory Committee for NJ Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Master Plan
JANICE KOVACH, Mayor, Clinton Town – Public Works Advisory Board, Department of Community Affairs
DR. EDWARD J. MAHANEY, JR., Mayor, Cape May City – Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees, Member
PAUL J. MATACERA, League Past President – New Jersey Solid Waste Advisory Council; Trustee, League Educational Foundation
M. BOYD MILLER, Councilman, Brielle – New Jersey Water Supply Advisory Council, Department of Environmental Protection
JOSEPH P. MONZO, Chief Finance Officer, South Brunswick – New Jersey Tax and Fiscal Policy Study Commission
PAMELA H. MOUNT, Former Committeewoman, Lawrence Township (Mercer); Member — Clean Air Council; Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees, Chair
L. MASON NEELY, Finance Director, East Brunswick – Department of Environmental Protection Clean Water Council
ARTHUR R. ONDISH, Mayor, Mount Arlington; League Past President – Public Works Advisory Board, Department of Community Affairs; Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees Member
JOEL SHAIN, ESQ., Attorney, Monroe Township (Middlesex) – League Representative, Board of Public Utilities Committee on Development of Rules for Municipal Electric Aggregation
MATTHEW U. WATKINS, Administrator, West New York – Public Employment Relations Commission Member
RAYMOND S. HECK, Mayor, Millstone Borough; League Representative on State Fire Safety Commission
PAUL SHIVES, Mayor, Toms River; Public Employment Relations Committee, Member
MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCE
The League is completing its 99th year of service to the municipalities of New Jersey. Our membership currently includes all 565 municipalities in the State of New Jersey. The League’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The Budget under which the League is currently operating is set forth below.
General descriptive brochures covering the range of League services are available at the League Booth and
from the League office in Trenton.
Membership Dues Rate Schedule
2015 Membership Dues Report
The League’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The Budget under which the League is currently operating is set forth below..
2013/2014 Audit Actual Revenues & Expenditures
for NJLM Fiscal Year End June 2014