February 6, 2013
21st Annual Mayors’ Legislative Day Recap
Today in Trenton, over 150 mayors from all around New Jersey gathered for the League’s 21st Annual Mayors’ Legislative Day. The meeting opened with League President Janice S. Mironov, Mayor of East Windsor Township, asking key Christie Administration leaders to outline their priorities for the coming year.
Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard Constable talked about new resources that the DCA has made available to help meet the needs of municipalities and of individuals impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin focused on DEP’s response to the Super Storm, including efforts to assist municipalities that were devastated. Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Jim Simpson discussed the availability of Local Aid for roads, bridges and for planning and developing pedestrian and biking alternatives. Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Commissioner Joseph L. Fiordaliso talked about the need to hold utilities accountable for unacceptable maintenance and timely repair of equipment, conduits and rights of way, and of the need to modernize utility operations.
This was followed by a taping of NJTV’s “On the Record,” hosted by award wining Statehouse reporter Michael Aron. The opening panel included League President Janice Mironov, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, Assembly Budget Committee Chair, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, State Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair, Senator Paul Sarlo, and Assemblyman Scott Rumana. At the conclusion of the videotaping, the panel was joined by League First Vice President, Mayor Suzanne Walters of Stone Harbor, Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and League Board Member and Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith.
One topic that generated enthusiastic support from State Legislators and Mayors, alike, was the need to end the State diversion of Energy Tax funding. Legislators stated their agreement that the Energy Taxes do belong in local coffers and their hope to begin to address the problem, this year.
The need to renew limits on arbitration awards, before they expire in 2014, was discussed; as were the need to eliminate impediments to shared services, particularly civil service mandates; the imposition of penalties on municipalities that do not share services; the impact of school taxes on citizens and businesses; the need for strict limits on unused sick leave payouts; and the impact on the 2% cap.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno addressed the audience, detailing her economic redevelopment initiatives, in addition to Hurricane Sandy recovery matters. The Lieutenant Governor stressed her hope that local officials would contact her with any problems arising from bureaucratic requirements, with any needs relating to economic redevelopment. She highlighted Administration efforts to promote New Jersey travel and tourism, including advertising campaigns launched to coincide with the Inauguration in Washington and the Super Bowl in New Orleans. With unprecedented openness, the Lieutenant Governor shared her cell phone number and invited local officials to contact her at any time on matters of mutual concern.
The program concluded with the presentation of certificates to the new class of inductees into the League’s Elected Officials’ Hall of Fame. These dedicated men and women have completed at least two decades of service to their fellow citizens in elected local office.
Mayors’ Legislative Day is an annual highlight of the League’s continuous efforts to keep local elected officials informed on what’s happening in the State Capital and how that can affect you and your constituents. We invite you get more involved in our intergovernmental affairs services. If you would like to serve on our Legislative Committee, which develops League responses to State public policy initiatives, or if you have any ideas on how we could improve this service, please contact me at 609-695-3481, ext. 122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.
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