March 11, 2011
Re: A-3859, Special Improvement Districts
A-3859, which requires the approval of extending special improvement districts (SIDs) every ten years by majority of affected property owners, is scheduled for a vote by the full Generally Assembly this Monday, March 14. The League opposes this legislation.
The bill is unnecessary and the discretion to dissolve a SID should be left to the municipal governing body. Special Improvement Districts (SIDs) are public-private partnerships, created by municipal ordinance and can be rescinded and/or amended any time by the municipal governing body.
In addition, N.J.S.A. 40:56-65 et seq. provides extensive oversight of these districts. For example, the statutes require an elected municipal representative to be on the management board, an annual audit and reports. Furthermore, not only must the SID’s budget be approved annually by the municipal governing body, but it is the sole responsibility of the municipality to set the rate of the assessment to be levied and collected within the district.
We are also extremely concerned with the referendum process established by A-3859. The bill states that if the eligible voters on the question either fail to respond or vote in the negative the governing body must dissolve the SID. No other election consider those who “fail to vote” as negative votes. We do not believe that this precedent should be set or this process duplicated.
A-3859 is scheduled for a vote by the full Assembly this Monday, March 14. To date, there is no Senate companion. We would urge you to contact your Assembly representatives, particularly if your municipality hosts such a district, and ask them to oppose A-3859.
For more on this bill, please contact either Mike Cerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lori Buckelew at email@example.com, or at 609-695-3481 x120, or x112 respectively.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.