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January 23. 2015

RE:  Weekly Policy Update
I. Transportation Trust Fund
Atlantic City
Washington Watch
New Jersey Supreme Court Issues Decision Affecting Municipal Land Use
League Legislative Priorities & Mayors’ Legislative Day

Municipal Clerk: Please forward a copy to all Governing Body Members

Dear Mayor:

Here’s a recap of major policy issues of interest to local governments. 

I. Transportation Trust Fund

On Tuesday, Department of Transportation Commissioner (DOT) Jamie Fox suspended local transportation aid to municipalities, effective immediately. In addition to freezing these funds, the DOT will begin to inspect almost 300 of NJ’s structurally deficient bridges, with the implication being that any bridge deemed unsafe for public use will be closed to traffic immediately.  

As you know, the replenishment of the Transportation Trust Fund is a major League legislative priority for 2015 as well as for municipalities and counties across the State.   We ask for your continued assistance in advocating for s solution to the State’s critical transportation funding needs.     We urge you to contact your Legislators.    For more, please see the League’s letters of January 21, January 20 and January 9.  
Contact:  Jon Moran, or 609-695-3481 x121

II. Atlantic City

On Thursday, Governor Christie signed Executive Order 171 which appointed an Emergency Manager for Atlantic City, housed within the Department of Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Affairs.   Initial press reports indicated that there would be a State takeover of the city, which was concerning not only for the potential usurpation of the local elected officials in the city itself, but also for the dangerous precedent it could establish.   However, a review of the Executive Order allays our concerns, as the Order appears to be an extension of the current oversight of the Local Finance Board.    Further, the League was in constant contact with Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian and the Mayor indicates that he has met with the emergency manager, and that his intentions are to work cooperatively with the City to develop a set of recommendations to promote the long-term financial stability of the city.  We will, of course, monitor the situation but believe that working alongside the emergency manager, the Mayor and Council of Atlantic City will chart a new course for the city.

Contact: Mike Cerra, or 609-695-3481 x120

III. Washington Watch

Please see the League’s letter of January 21 for a recap of issues of interest to local governments from the Nation’s capital.

Contact: Jon Moran, or 609-695-3481 x121

IV. New Jersey Supreme Court Issues Decision Affecting Municipal Land Use

Yesterday, the State Supreme Court issued an important decision affecting municipal land use authority. In Griepenburg v. Township of Ocean, a landowner attempted to invalidate, as arbitrary and capricious, two municipal land use ordinances which changed their property parcel from a residential and commercial use to an environmental conservation district. The parcel did not contain any environmentally sensitive attributes or wildlife. The landowner did not seek a variance. The Court held that: 1) the township’s ordinances were a valid exercise of their municipal land use powers; and 2) that the landowner was required to seek a variance and exhaust their administrative remedies before being able to attack the township’s land use ordinances in court.
Contact: Ed Purcell Esq, or 609-695-3481 x. 137.

V. League Legislative Priorities & Mayors’ Legislative Day

If you have not yet done so, please review the League’s legislative priorities from 2015 and what you can do to make sure the voice of local governments and taxpayers are heard in Trenton: These priorities will be a topic of discussion at the Mayors’ Legislative Day on February 4, 2015.   Please see this link for the registration form:
Contact: Mike Cerra, or 609-695-3481 x120

Thank you,

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director



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