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July 30, 2014

Re:      New Content on DLGS Web Site

Dear Mayor:

The Division of Local Government Service’s has posted the following new content on their website:

1. Financial Disclosure Statement fines to be assessed for not filing:    If you are required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement as a Local Government Official, please be advised that the Local Finance Board will be utilizing technology to identify those who did not file by the deadline and bring enforcement actions as appropriate.  If you are required to file and have not done so, please do so immediately to avoid enforcement action.  Working together, we hope to have near complete compliance. As a reminder, the link to the Local Finance Notice outlining the process to file is: www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/14/2014-06.pdf.  Local Government Officials may also visit www.fds.nj.gov to file directly and for additional important information about the filing process.  Please see our April 25 Dear Mayor Letter for additional information.

2. Secondary Bond Market Continuing Disclosure Commitments:  It is critically important that local government officials, particularly CFOs and other finance professionals, review Local Finance Notice 2014-9 (www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/14/2014-09.pdf).  The Security Exchange Commission (SEC) and financial markets are clamping down on local government issuers of outstanding debt that do not comply with legal obligations to publicly disclose, on a regular basis, information about their finances.  SEC and financial market actions mean many municipalities will be unable to access credit markets if they do not come into compliance.  That could result in financial difficulty for individual communities if they do not have the ability to roll over short term cash flow notes as with certain Bond Anticipation Notes.  The notice reminds local governments of their obligations, encourages them to achieve compliance, apprises them as to an amnesty program that the SEC is implementing (ending September 10, 2014), and warns them that there could be ramifications at the State level if noncompliance continues.  Ramifications at the State level could include licensure reviews, deferred approvals for applications pending before the Division or Board, and possible negative scoring on the Best Practices Inventory which is proposed to have a question concerning compliance.  A webinar to provide additional information is tentatively scheduled with the League of Municipalities for August 14 at 10:00 a.m. to provide additional information and when that webinar has been firmed up, CFOs will receive additional information.  Please see our July 24 Dear Mayor Letter for additional information.

3. State Aid Payment Schedule:  Local Finance Notice 2014-10 (http://nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/14/2014-10.pdf) summarizes the state aid payment program for CY 2014 and SFY 2015 budgets.  The state aid breakdown and amounts for each payment cycle are posted on the Division of Local Government Services' website at www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/resources/fiscal_rpts.shtml.  Please select "Aid Payments Recapitulations" in the "Select the Type of Report" drop-down menu.  You will find that answers for many questions are covered in this Notice.  If you have additional questions, please call the Office of Financial Regulation and Assistance at (609) 292-4806.

4. DLGS Assistant Director Appointment:  Thomas Neff, Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, is pleased to announce the promotion of the Division's Coordinator of Shared Services, Nancy Malool, to Assistant Division Director for Local Management Services.  Nancy, a lawyer by education, has broad experience in government issues having served at the Division, in the Legislature, as Mayor of her municipality, and on various local boards.  She joins the senior management team that includes: Tina Zapicchi, Assistant Division Director of Financial Regulation; Patty McNamara, Executive Secretary of the Local Finance Board; and Ann Zawartkay, Chief of the Authorities Unit.

5. Local Public Contracts Law Reference Manual:  The Bloustein Local Government Research Center has assisted the Division in preparing a new reference manual for local purchasing officials.  Prepared by Marc Pfeiffer and Joseph Valenti, this new manual includes the current text of the Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11), LPCL Rules (N.J.A.C. 5:34), and a reference section that lists procurement-related Local Finance Notices and other guidance documents.  When opening the Guide online or from a computer connected to the internet, the PDF document has clickable links from statutes to rule sections and to guidance documents.   It provides a wealth of procurement legal requirements and guidance documents in one place.  We expect that the document will be kept current on an annual basis.  We hope you find this new resource useful.  The N.J. Local Public Contracts Law and Regulation Reference Manual is posted under Statutory References on the Division's LPCL webpage and can be download directly from this link: www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/programs/lpcl_docs/Full%204-14%20LPCL-NJAC%20Reference%20Handbook.pdf

6. Division of Housing and Community Resources:  Please share the following information with emergency shelters, transitional housing providers and nonprofits in your community.  The Department of Community Affairs has released its FY 2015 Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Shelter Support Program & the Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing 2 Program, via the Department's System for Administering Grants Electronically (SAGE).  Applications must be submitted no later than August 29, 2014.  The details are available at https://njdcasage.state.nj.us/ and assistance is available at (609) 292-8548 or email to lisa.downes@dca.state.nj.us

7. Mailing of 2013 Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Checks:  The Division of Taxation has begun mailing 2013 Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) checks to applicants who filed by the original deadline of June 2, 2014. Keep in mind that the deadline has been extended until Sept.15, 2014.  Only applicants whose 2013 income did not exceed $70,000 are eligible to receive a reimbursement payment, provided they met all the other requirements.  Members of the public who need assistance should be referred to the Property Tax Reimbursement Hotline at (800) 882-6597.

8. Revised 2014 Income Guidelines:  The Revised 2014 Income Guidelines for Real Property Tax Deduction for Senior Citizens, Disabled Persons and Surviving Spouses have been posted to the Tax Collector document library.  The guidelines are to assist all concerned with the administration of Chapter 129, Laws of 1976, as amended, and to aid in determining income which may be deducted or excluded from gross income of citizens and residents of this state, 65 years of age or more, or less than 65 years but permanently and totally disabled, or their surviving spouses, age 55 or more, in certain cases, who are applying for the Real property Tax Deduction under N.J.S.A. 54:4-8.40 et seq.  If you have questions concerning the income guidelines, please call Susan Dobay, Supervising Field Representative, at (609) 633-8443.

9. New Handbook Promotes Mediation for Farm-Related Disputes:  The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) has published a new handbook to promote the use of mediation in resolving farm-related disputes.  The New Jersey Agricultural Mediation Program Handbook explains how the program works and offers examples of successful mediations. Mediation can be used as an alternative to the Right to Farm Act's formal process for resolving conflicts between farmers and their municipalities or neighbors.   Farmers also can use mediation to resolve issues with U.S. Department of Agriculture programs or agricultural credit matters with private lenders.   Many farm-related conflicts stem from miscommunication or lack of communication. Mediation can help bridge the gap by providing a trained mediator to guide discussion and resolution of issues quickly and amicably.   Mediation is confidential, free and generally takes only a meeting or two to complete. Because the mediator has no decision-making authority, successful mediation is based on the voluntary cooperation of all parties. The program handbook is available on the SADC's website at www.nj.gov/agriculture/sadc/agmediation. For more information or to request printed copies of the handbook, contact the SADC at (609) 984-2504 or sadc@ag.state.nj.us.

CONFERENCES

1. GRC's 8th Annual OPRA Seminar:  The New Jersey Government Records Council ("GRC") will be hosting its 8th Annual OPRA Seminar on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at the New Jersey State Museum Auditorium, 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.  This free seminar "A Review of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and Records Retention" will assist government employees, governing bodies, departments, boards, commissions and members of the public to better understand the mandatory requirements of the Open Public Records Act, as well as recent rulings by the Government Records Council and NJ Superior Court that affect the disclosure of government records.  To register, return the GRC's registration form posted at http://www.state.nj.us/grc/meetings/schedule/ (See item No. 10 under the 2014 schedule).  Note: the deadline has been EXTENDED to August 8, 2014.

Seating is limited and CEUs have been approved.  Perspective registrants with questions should contact the GRC directly at (609) 292-6830 or email grc@dca.state.nj.us.

2. Prevailing Wage and Worker Misclassification Conference:  On October 8 and 9, 2014 the Interstate Labor Standards Association (ILSA) in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJLWD) will be conducting the Northeast Regional Prevailing Wage and Worker Misclassification Conference at Bally's Atlantic City.  The conference will explore various topics to include government and contractor responsibilities under the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act, New Jersey Contractor Registration Act, Construction Industry Independent Contractor Act, Davis Bacon Act and enforcement activities conducted  by the NJLWD, USDOL and neighboring states.  Registration forms are available by contacting Wage.Hour@dol.state.nj.us or by calling (609) 984-7356.  You can also find the brochure on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development homepage at http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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