July 18, 2012
RE: Affordable Housing, Trust Funds - Please advise the League of your status
Yesterday was the four-year anniversary of the signing of PL 2008. c 46. In that law, municipalities were directed to “commit for expenditure” their housing trust fund dollars from the four-year anniversary of the bill or from the date of collection, whichever is later. The legislation also directed the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to promulgate regulations regarding the administration and enforcement of these trust funds. The agency, however, failed to propose, let alone adopt, such regulations and its “3rd round regulations” were set-aside by the Appellate Division.
As referenced in our Monday Dear Mayor letter, the Appellate Division did not order an injunction prohibiting the State from seizing these dollars. However, it did require municipalities be provided with written notice from the State, an explanation as to how the State determined how much of your trust funds it intended to seize and allow for the municipality to contest any requirement of COAH to transfer the funds.
Thus, it is possible that some of you may soon receive notice of the State’s intention to seize a portion of your trust funds. If this occurs, please advise the League as soon as possible. Contact information is below. It is paramount that the League and municipalities remain vigilant in requiring the State provide the required due process for municipalities and our taxpayers.
Meanwhile, we wait to see if the State chooses to attempt to appeal the recent order to the Supreme Court, or if it proceeds in an attempt to seize trust funds consistent with the Appellate Division order. The appeal to the Appellate Division seeking a restraint until regulations are adopted continues despite the denial of the emergent application for a stay, and the Court will issue a calendar for any additional briefing or oral argument.
The contact for this letter is Mike Cerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.