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May 29, 2013

Re: Affordable Housing Trust Funds NJ Supreme Court keeps stay in place for collection of funds, but lifts stay for administrative purpose of collecting information.

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday the NJ Supreme Court kept in place the portion of the stay ordered by the Appellate Division, thereby enjoining the State from seeking the transfer of any affordable housing trusts funds. However, the Court lifted the portion of the stay which prohibited the State from its administrative process of gathering and evaluating municipal submissions. The Appellate Division June 5 hearing will therefore proceed.

Effectively, this means that the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) can begin an administrative process of collecting information from municipalities. The State, however, is prohibited, at this time, from the collection of any municipal housing trust funds. Specifically, the Court wrote:

“…to the extent the interim stay enjoins COAH from gathering and evaluating municipalities’ submissions, the stay is vacated; to the extent the interim stay enjoins the transfer of funds, it remains in effect.”

The League and the Fair Share Housing Center opposed the State’s appeal. Further, a letter was submitted to the Court by Assembly Speaker Oliver, Majority Leader Greenwald, Deputy Speaker Wisniewski, Assembly Budget Officer Prieto and the remaining Assembly sponsors of PL 2008, c46 and a separate letter from Senate President Sweeney and Senate Majority Leader Weinberg. In these letters, the Legislative Leaders expressed their opinion that the provisions of the 2008 law were not being followed and that municipalities have not been given a meaningful opportunity to commit the housing trust funds. The League expresses its deepest appreciation to the Leaders of both houses for their support.

A copy of the Supreme Court order is online at: http://www.njslom.org/affordable-housing/COAH-court-decision.pdf
The letter from the Assembly is online at http://www.njslom.org/affordable-housing/COAH-Assembly-May-23.pdf and the Senate letter is at: http://www.njslom.org/affordable-housing/COAH-Senate-May-23.pdf

The League will continue to advise you on all related developments. In the meanwhile, we again suggest your reach out to your State Legislators and the Governor’s office and express your opposition to the State’s efforts to seize local affordable housing trusts funds. We would further suggest submitting letters to the editors or op-ed pieces to your local media, focused on your efforts to commit these funds locally. Any questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or (609) 695-3481 x120.

Very truly yours,

 

Janice S. Mironov, President                                                                William G. Dressel, Jr.
New Jersey State League of Municipalities,                                         Executive Director
Mayor, East Windsor Township

 

 

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