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November 6, 2015

RE:  Weekly Policy Update

I. Assembly Returns November 9 : Bills on the Governor’s Desk
II. Governor Seeks Disaster Declaration in Response to early October Nor’easter
III. Progress in Washington on Transportation Funding
IV. NEW for the Annual League Conference – Consulting Meetings replace the Consulting Period
V. One Source of Data for your Municipality - now available free from Rutgers
VI. Wastewater Quality Management Rules

Dear Mayor:

I. Assembly Returns November 9: Bills on the Governor’s Desk

The General Assembly, which has not convened since June, is now scheduled to quorum on Monday, November 9.   This now becomes the deadline for the Governor to act on dozens of bills which have been on his desk since June.     For a summary of bills that await action and the League’s position, please see our Friday recap letters of October 30 and October 23

II.  Governor Seeks Disaster Declaration in Response to early October Nor’easter

Last Friday,  the Governor announced that the State is seeking a Major Disaster Declaration under the Federal Stafford Act for three Shore counties that sustained in excess of $32 million in damages caused by a severe Nor' Easter from October 1, 2015 through October 4, 2015.

A letter outlining the State's request for a Major Disaster Declaration for citizens, businesses and local governments in Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties, was sent to President Barack Obama through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

III. Progress in Washington on Transportation Funding

Yesterday in Washington, the House of Representatives approved a highway bill, which, as we expected, includes six years of policy directives but only three years of funding. (Click here for our October 30 letter.) The sweeping legislation provides state and local governments a federal commitment and sets the rules for planning and building highways, bridges and transit programs during the next six years.

The bill, approved on a 363-64 vote, must still be reconciled with a similar Senate version, which the Upper House had approved earlier. Lawmakers are trying to finish work on the bipartisan legislation by November 20, when the latest short-term extension of highway funding expires.

The highway bill that was approved by the House on Thursday calls for spending $261 billion on highways and $55 billion on transit over six years. The legislation authorizes highway funding for six years, but only if Congress can come up with a way to pay for the final three years. The bill was approved in a 363-64 vote. In July, the Senate passed a similar piece of legislation that contained three years' worth of guaranteed highway funding. New Jersey Congressman (and former West New York Mayor) Albio Sires was appointed to serve on the Conference Committee that will iron out the differences between the House and Senate bills.

Staff contact: Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.org            

IV.  NEW for the Annual League Conference – Consulting Meetings replace the Consulting Period

Adapting to the growing interest in utilizing technology and focusing on individualized opportunities, the League has creatively developed a new way of providing the traditional consulting opportunities during the Annual League Conference.  For the first time, pre-scheduled “Consulting Meetings” will be available.  A list of consultants’ contacts have been made available on the League’s website and in the printed Session Program, allowing conference attendees the opportunity to schedule face-to-face meetings with State program directors, and subject experts.  Conference attendees are encouraged to set up meetings with participating consultants before Conference week to occur at a mutually agreeable time during Conference week.  Schedule your meetings at your convenience.  The Convention Center lounges and food courts provide comfortable locations to hold these scheduled consulting meetings.  Check the list of Consultants today and schedule a meeting for your time at the Annual League Conference.

IV.  One Source of Data for your Municipality - now available free from Rutgers

The Rutgers Center for Government Services has unveiled its new online version of the New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, a free searchable database with 30 years of information about the state’s 565 municipalities – including yours!  The New Jersey Data Book is designed to provide quick answers about New Jersey’s communities through a host of data, including town voting records, property taxes, housing, poverty, government expenditures and more. You or your staff can now search over 100 categories of data over multiple years to identify trends, pull data to share with residents, or use to write grant applications. The data can be downloaded as a CSV or Excel file.  During the League Conference, take a "data tour" of your town at the Rutgers booth 1601. In addition, there will be a conference session on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 3:45 p.m. in Room 408 in which you can see a demonstration of the interactive database.

VI.   Wastewater Quality Management Rules

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed changes to the Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) rules.   For a copy of the rules please click here.    The public comment period for this proposal runs until December 18.   Three public hearings are scheduled as follows:

November 10th   1:00  p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Freylinghuysen Arboretum
Haggerty Room
353 East Hanover Avenue
Morris Township, NJ  07962

November 17th 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Gloucester County Clayton Complex
Clayton Auditorium
1200 Delsea Drive
Clayton, NJ  08312

November 30th  10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
DEP Public Hearing Room
401 East State Street
Trenton, NJ  08625

The rules are intended to provide local planning agencies more flexibility in making land-use decisions and evaluating environmental impacts when mapping areas suitable for wastewater infrastructure.  The League is currently reviewing the rule proposal.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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