2012 Legislative Agenda
Making the Best of It
November 18, you honored me by electing me to serve as your President for the next 12
months. Thank you. This is a tremendous responsibility and a tremendous opportunity. I intend
to make the best of it.
Local officials are, by temperament and hard-earned
training, problem solvers. We are neither Pollyannas
nor pessimists. We are realists who refuse to surrender. We will maintain a positive mental attitude. And we'll get through our current crisis, as we have other challenges in the past, with more strength and vigor than we had at the beginning. We won't just survive. We will thrive.
On Tuesday, January 10, 2012, the 215th Legislature
of the State of New Jersey will begin its first, of two, Annual Sessions. The Legislative process will start anew. Along with this new start should come a renewed commitment on our part to promote issues important to municipal government.
As your eyes, your ears and your voice in the State
Capital, our six legislative agents will be vigilant to
potential problems and possibilities. We know that we
can count on them to always do their best to protect our interests and the interests of the property taxpayers,
who have put their faith in us.
But we also know that they will need our help. Only
with our active involvement will their communications with the Executive and Legislative Branches of State
government carry the credibility on which they rely.
The only way for us to give them the support that they need is by following the progress of legislation, which is
important—in either a positive or a negative sense—to
municipalities throughout our Garden State.
I urge you to read their regular "Legislative Update" column, which appears in each issue of our magazine,
New Jersey Municipalities. I counsel you to scrutinize the "Legislative Bulletins," which we publish after every
meeting of our Legislative Committee. I encourage you
to heed the "Legislative Alert" letters, which are sent
to you, as needed, to mark the progress of important
legislation through the law-making process. And I ask
you to carefully consider the League's Legislative
Priorities, which follow this letter.
Each letter is also a call to arms. When our staff write,
they hope to help you to understand what is afoot
in Trenton. However, they also hope that you will
respond with action.
I urge you to get involved in the League's legislative
efforts to the maximum extent that your other
responsibilities allow. Working together, we can help
our fellow public servants to make the best of our
Garden State and our time in its service.
Very truly yours,
Arthur R. Ondish
Mayor, Mount Arlington Borough
President, New Jersey League of Municipalities
Legislative Priorities for 2012
LAND USE, AFFORDABLE HOUSING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Support reform to Affordable Housing policies.
- Strengthen and support State programs designed to
provide municipalities with the tools they need to attract
and retain businesses, jobs and economic activity.
- Fight to defend the rights of our citizens to shape the
future and the character of their communities through
local planning and zoning.
- Terminate unnecessary and duplicative bureaucratic
requirements, which inhibit the construction and renovation
of sufficient safe and affordable housing, and
which prevent the development of vibrant economic
and recreational opportunities for the families of our
PUBLIC SAFETY, PUBLIC HEALTH & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
- Promote policies that will permit communities to achieve
and sustain compliance with appropriately high public
safety, public health and environmental standards.
- Champion policies that will save our young people from
the scourge of gang violence.
- Advocate for and promote policies that will permit municipal
leaders to build greener and cleaner communities.
- Support policies that will permit communities to utilize
flexible solutions to site remediation problems.
- Champion efforts to maintain, for future generations,
the natural diversity which draws millions of visitors to
our state, and to bequeath to our children a healthier
and cleaner environment.
TAXATION, FINANCE & PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
- Continue to urge State policy-makers to honor State
laws that promise Energy Tax, PILOTs and other revenue
replacement funding to municipalities, so as not to
further exacerbate the burden borne by New Jersey's
families and small businesses.
- Support significant arbitration reforms that will allow local leaders to address their public safety needs within the State-imposed, inflexible cap limits.
- Champion significant civil service reforms that will
allow local leaders to manage the municipal workforce
effectively, efficiently and economically.
- Articulate the need for further reforms, which might
need to be effected by a special citizens' property tax
- Oppose all State policy proposals that would shift costs
from the state to local governments, because such
proposals will, inevitably, contribute to the property
- Champion policies that will permit local governments,
at their discretion, to jointly negotiate and enter into
contracts so as to provide for our citizens the best possible
supplies and services at the lowest possible rates.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
- Campaign for a sustainable and fair solution to our
transportation infrastructure funding crisis, which must
include a strong local aid component.
- Coalesce support for programs designed to modernize
our energy, water and environmental infrastructure.
- Engage and facilitate discussions among public servants
representing their fellow citizens at the local, state
and federal level, in order to best meet the challenges
and respond to the opportunities emerging from
developments in our nation's and state's capital.
- Confront existing mandates by supporting executive
and legislative review and repeal or relaxation of unnecessary,
unfunded requirements imposed on municipalities
in the past, and remaining in effect, today.
- Promote repeal of long-standing statutory impediments
to greater intergovernmental cooperation.
- Encourage and support opportunities to share services
in order to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
- Defend the right of the people to govern themselves and determine the destiny of their own communities.