September 5, 2014
Re: Weekly Policy Update
I. Legislature to Return, Looking Ahead
The New Jersey General Assembly will reconvene with committee meetings on Thursday, September 11. That date also represents the deadline for the Governor to act on some bills of interest to municipalities, such as:
- Police Camera Mandate. A-2280/S-1305, which would require certain new or used municipal police vehicles to be equipped with mobile video recording systems. The bill also provides that a mobile device video recording systems worn or otherwise used by a police officer would qualify, in lieu of a device placed in a vehicle. In addition, the bill increases by $25 the surcharge imposed on persons convicted of driving while intoxicated, which would be used to offset the cost of equipping police vehicles with video recording systems, as required by this bill. According to an Office of Legislative Services analysis, the new revenues will, most likely, prove insufficient to fully fund the new mandate. The League, therefore, opposes this unfunded state mandate. If you recall, this bill was passed during the “lame duck” session in January and pocket vetoed by the Governor. Please contact the Governor’s office as soon as possible, and ask him to again veto A-2280/S-1305. Contact: Jon Moran, 609-695-3481 x121, or firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Land Banks. A-441/S-438, which will allow municipalities to designate redevelopment entities, including the municipality itself and certain non-profit entities, to act as a land bank. The League supports this permissive tool to assist redevelopment. Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or email@example.com;
- 2.5% Non-Residential Development Fee. A-1907/S-1011, which would re-establish the moratorium on the imposition of fees on non-residential construction projects until the end of 2014. The previous suspension expired on July 1, 2013 and the fee provision is currently in effect. The bill would require reimbursement to developers of the fee provided that the collected money has not been expended. Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State Senate will reconvene on September 15. We would like to call your attention to:
- Prohibits Municipal Registration for Multi-Family Dwellings, S-1972 & A-474, which will preempt any municipal ordinance requiring registration for multi-family dwellings. S-1972 now stands at 2nd reading in the Senate and was scheduled for a possible Senate vote on June 26. Fortunately, after local officials reached out to the State Senators to express opposition, the bill was held and did not advance. However, the bill may reemerge again in the fall. We recommend that you reach out to your legislators and ask them to oppose S-1972 and A-474. A sample resolution opposing this legislation is available at: http://njslom.org/documents/Resolution_Opposing-S-1972_A-474.pdf
Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or email@example.com.
II. COAH Takes Action Regarding Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Funds
On Tuesday, August 26 the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) met for the first time since the end of the public comment period on its proposed affordable housing regulations. Sean Thompson, Acting Executive Director of COAH, indicated that the agency received over 2,900 separate comments from 191 commenters on the proposed regulations. The agency is in the process of synthesizing the comments and a COAH Task Force will convene in September to review the comments. We are pleased to report that the Board then approved the staff determination that 13 municipalities committed an amount, over $14 million in total, that is equal to or exceeds the amount required to be committed by March 31, 2013, and thus not at risk of forfeiting funds to the State. It is not known if and when other municipalities will be dealt with going forward. If you recall, the League filed litigation to prevent the State’s efforts to seize these funds. For background on this matter, please see the League’s Dear Mayor letter of July 3, 2013 at: http://www.njslom.org/letters/2013-0703-Affordable-Housing.html
It is expected that COAH will approve final regulations at its October meeting and – absent Court intervention - those regulations will be effective upon publication in the November 17 New Jersey Register. The League’s comments on the proposed regulations are available at: http://www.njslom.org/documents/NJLM_comments_73114.pdf. Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.