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December 6, 2011

I.   Transitional Aid Passes Assembly, up in Senate Committee on Thursday
II.  Assembly voting session of Monday, December 5

Dear Mayor,

I.  Transitional Aid Passes Assembly, up in Senate Committee on Thursday

Yesterday, the full Assembly passed A-4373, which authorizes and funds “transitional aid” and appropriated $140.5 million for this program.  The Senate companion, S-3118, is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Thursday, and appears headed for approval by the full Senate on December 15. The League supports this funding, which was originally included in the state budget but struck from the budget by the Governor over the administrative oversight of the bill. To address that issue, the bill appropriates an additional $1.5 million over the original appropriation of $139 to fund oversight by the Department of Community Affairs.   Eleven municipalities will receive this necessary funding.   For more on this issue, please see our November 29 Dear Mayor letter.

II.  Assembly voting session of Monday, December 5

The Assembly approved the following bills, which were supported by the League:

A-359The "Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act."  For more on this bill, please see our Dear Mayor letter of June 28.  This bill, which reflects the Governor’s conditional veto, returns to the Governor for his consideration. 

A-898/S-1141 – Permits board of fire commissioners to amend fire district budget after adoption to insert special items of revenue. For more on this bill, please see our Dear Mayor letter of November 22.  This bill has now passed both houses, and now heads to the Governor for his consideration.

A-4114Allows all municipalities to sell and lease unneeded public property for "urban" farming and gardening purposes.  The Senate companion, S-2956, is scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs committee on Thursday.  For more on this bill, please see our Dear Mayor letter of November 22.

A-4267Allows counties and municipalities to use open space trust funds for purchase of flood-prone properties. The Senate companion to this bill, S-3078, may be scheduled for a full Senate vote on Thursday, December 15.
A-915/S-463 –– Authorizes creation of local renewable energy collaboratives and central renewable energy generation systems, and provides for sale of renewable power generation.  We support this legislation, but the League believes it should be expanded so that all municipalities are permitted to take advantage of the law.   The bill now heads to the Governor for his consideration.

The Assembly also approved the following bills, which were opposed by the League:

A-3949/S-2989 – Provides certain collocations of wireless equipment, minor site plan status.  The legislation unnecessarily impedes on local discretion and unjustifiably waives notice and public hearing requirements.  A-3949/S-2989, would exempt the collocation from any site plan review, even if it proposed increasing the height of the tower by 10% and increased the footprint of the mechanical equipment compound by up to 2,500 sq. feet.  This bill now heads to the Governor for his consideration. For more on this bill, please see our Dear Mayor letter of November 22.   

A-3992Provides for streamlined review of certain wind energy generation facility installments on farmland.  This bill passed by a vote of 47-24-4.  This legislation, which has been amended so that it applies only to Salem and Cumberland counties, is an unnecessary intrusion on local discretion and undermines the State’s farmland preservation program.  The Senate companion to this bill, S-2887, was released by the Senate Environment Committee by a narrow 3-2 vote, and will likely be posted for a vote by the full Senate for next Thursday, December 15.   We urge you to contact your State Senators and ask them to oppose S-2887.   For more on this bill, please see our Dear Mayor letter of November 22 and September 20.

Lastly, A-3285, which the League opposes was scheduled for consideration but not voted on.    It could return at the next voting session.This bill would requires certain public contract bid advertisements to contain certified cost estimates or estimate ranges of projected contract costs and specifies grounds for rejections of all bids.  In addition, to requiring that a contracting unit include in the public advertisement their cost estimates or cost estimate ranges for construction projects in excess of $500,000, the bill amends the six reasons to reject all bids.  A-3285 would limit a competitive process that is the foundation of the Local Public Contracts Law and would not best serve the public interest.  A-3285 removes the incentives for competitiveness and will lead to increased cost for public contracts.    For more on this bill see our Dear Mayor letter of November 30 and May 26.

For more on these bills, please contact either Mike Cerra (mcerra@njslom.com, or 609-695-3481 x120) or Lori Buckelew (lbuckelew@njslom.com, 609-695-3481 x112.)

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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