March 20, 2015
RE: Weekly Policy Update
Municipal Clerk: Please forward a copy to all Governing Body Members
Here’s a recap of major policy issues of interest to local governments.
I. Mayor Lempert Laments Lack of Progress on Transportation Trust Fund Crisis
League Board Member and Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert presented testimony to the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on Thursday, March 19. Mayor Lempert again urged action on the reauthorization of the Transportation Trust Fund, stressing the need for increased local infrastructure funding.
Mayor Lempert, speaking on behalf of all New Jersey Mayors, noted, “On June 30, it isn’t a pot hole that awaits the New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund. It is the end of the road. We have known this day was coming for well over a year. There have been public hearings. There have been press conferences. There have been editorials in the newspapers and interviews on radio and TV. It is frustrating to local officials to know that there has been no agreement on a sustainable solution to the problem.”
You can read Mayor Lempert’s remarks on our website at: http://www.njslom.org/testimony/Mayor-Lempert-031915-TTF-testimony.pdf
For an update on the current status of continuing State (and Federal) transportation infrastructure funding, see our February 27 letter at: http://www.njslom.org/letters/2015-0227-Transportation-Funding.html
Contact: Jon Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481, ext. 121
II. Legislation Reaffirms Local Authority Regarding Residency Requirements
Also on Thursday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee amended and released A-4265. This permissive legislation would authorize municipalities, at their discretion, to adopt ordinances implementing a five-year residency requirement for police and fire appointees. Specifically, A-4265 would allow the municipality to require new police and fire (paid and part-paid) hires to begin residing in the municipality within six months.
New Jersey’s municipalities have a long-standing tradition and the right, in our view, to establish and enforce residency requirements. Municipalities are exploring all possible avenues to
strengthen its tax base and job opportunities, stabilize neighborhoods and enhance community engagement, objectives that may be advanced through residency requirements.
In 2012, the State passed a residency requirement, with some exceptions, for State employees. If indeed there is value in the State residency requirement, then we believe municipalities should be provided this discretionary authority.
Contact: Mike Cerra, email@example.com or 609-695-3481, ext. 120.
III. Municipal Master Plan Element—Unfunded State Mandate
On Monday, the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee approved A-4185, which would mandate “…a statement of strategy concerning smart growth, storm resiliency with respect to energy supply and environmental infrastructure, and environmental sustainability” be included as part of the land use element of the municipal master plan.
The League testified in opposition to this bill, which we consider to be an unfunded state mandate. Further the League noted that the optional elements under the Municipal Land Use Law, such as the utility service plan element, the conservation plan element and the green building and environmental sustainability plan element already allow the opportunity to municipalities to address resiliency, sustainability and “smart growth.”
A-4185 now stands at 2nd reading in the Assembly and could be scheduled for a floor vote. The sponsors have indicated a willingness to work with the League to address our concerns. The Senate companion, S-2424 also stands at 2nd reading. We will advise you of any developments and please contact your Legislators and ask them to oppose S-2424 and A-4185.
Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481 x120, or firstname.lastname@example.org
IV. Upcoming Events
League 100th Anniversary Banquet, May 7, 2015. Please see: http://www.njslom.org/100banquet/
Free League Legislative Webinar, April 1, 2015. Please see: http://www.njslom.org/seminar-documents/2015-Apr1-Budget.html
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.