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June 1, 2012

Re:       Legislative Alert

I.   Affordable Housing, COAH Trust Funds Extension, Senate Bill Scheduled for Hearing
II.  Recap of Senate Voting Session
III. User Fee Legislation Passes the Senate and heads to the Assembly

Dear Mayor:

I.  Affordable Housing, COAH Trust Funds Extension, Senate Bill Scheduled for Hearing

S-2011, the Senate companion to A-2950, which allows an additional 2 years for the commitment of affordable housing trust fund dollars is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee next Thursday, June 7, 11 am.   The League supports this legislation.

As introduced, A-2950 and S-2011 will:

1.         Extend the deadline to commit trust fund dollars from four years from the date of collection to six years.  Thus, dollars subject to forfeiture to the State this July would be protected until July 2014; and

2.         Provide that any dollars forfeited after six years will either be transferred to the State Affordable Housing Trust Fund, or to the County if it has established a “Homelessness Trust Fund pursuant to NJSA 52:27D-287(e) or if it serves an “urban county pursuant to section 102(a)(6) of the “Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.”  This provision allows for the trust fund dollars to be retained and used locally.

If your municipality is at risk of forfeiting its housing trust fund dollars, we urge to reach out to your State legislators and ask them to support A-2950 and S-2011.  For more on this legislation, please see our May 29 Dear Mayor and May 16 Dear Mayor letters.   

Questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at 609-695-3481 x120 or mcerra@njslom.com.

II.  Recap of Senate Voting Session

At yesterday’s Senate voting session, in addition to the user fee legislation (S-1914), action was taken on the following bills of interest:

S-199, which prohibits first responders from photographing persons being assisted or disclosing photographs of such persons without their consent, passed the Senate 35-0.  The Assembly companion, A-789, awaits second reading in the Assembly.  The League supports this bill that will protect the privacy of accident victims and other persons receiving emergency medical services from first responders.  We believe this is a simple matter of common sense and common decency. The bill will still provide for the ability for our first responders to learn from accident and medical scenes but will protect the privacy of the victims.

S-778, which revises statutes concerning permissible length of time between certain public questions in certain municipalities, passed the Senate 34-0.  The Assembly companion, A-2153, awaits a hearing before the Assembly Housing and Local Government committee.  The League supports this bill that seeks to return the waiting period for Faulkner Act municipalities to 5 years.  We agree with the sponsor, Senator Weinberg, that any such change to the government of a municipality should have five years, which is a significant period of time, to prove effective or ineffective prior to the contemplation by the voters of the municipality of another change to the municipal government.  The interests of consistency require that any change be given some period to make its benefits and drawbacks clear, but ten years is entirely too long.  Five years is much more reasonable.

S-1114, which authorizes special emergency appropriations for the payment of certain expenses incurred by municipalities to implement a municipal consolidation, passed the Senate 35-0.  The Assembly companion, A-471, awaits a hearing before the Assembly Housing and Local Government committee.  The League supports this bill which authorizes a municipality to use special emergency appropriations for the payment of non-recurring expenses incurred by the municipality to implement a consolidation with another municipality.  In addition, such expenses would be exempt from the 2% property tax levy cap.

If you have any questions or need additional information on any of the bills please contact your Legislative team at 609-695-3481: Jon Moran at ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com, Mike Cerra at ext. 120 or mcerra@njslom.com or Lori Buckelew at ext. 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com.

III. User Fee Legislation Passes the Senate and heads to the Assembly

In addition, the Senate passed S-1914, which requires certain user fees for the provision of traditional municipal services to be included within the 2% municipal and county property tax levy cap, by a vote of 31-0-4. (For more information see our May 29 Dear Mayor letter)

The Assembly companion, A-2975, awaits a hearing before the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee

We strongly urge you to contact your Assembly representatives to advise them on how S-1914/A-2975 will adversely affect your ability to meet the delivery of services that your residents expect and urge them to vote no on A-2975.

In addition, if you have not done so already we urge you to adopt the following sample resolution opposing S-1914:

PDF – www.njslom.org/resolutions/s_1914_resolution.pdf
Word – www.njslom.org/resolutions/s_1914_resolutions.doc

If you have any questions or need additional information do not hesitate to contact Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 x112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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