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November 13, 2015

RE:   Weekly Policy Update

I. Governor Takes Action on Bills of Interest
II.
Progress on Gateway
III.
Mayors Prep for the Annual League Conference. 
IV.
NEW for the Annual League Conference – Consulting Meetings replace the Consulting Period
V.
Division of Local Government Services Issues Guidance on Changes to Local Finance Board Matters
VI.
CY 2016 Municipal and County Budget Cap Information
VII.
Chapter 159 Submittal Deadline is December 23, 2015
VIII.
Implementation of GASB 68: Accounting & Financial Reporting for Public Employee Pensions

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

Dear Mayor:

I. Governor Takes Action on Bills of Interest

On Monday, the Governor took action on dozens of bills.  For a summary of the Governor’s actions on bills of interest to municipalities, please click here.  

II. Progress on Gateway

Yesterday, Governors Christie and Cuomo, Senator Booker and New York’s Senator Charles Schumer issued a Joint Statement announcing that State and Federal officials have agreed to create a development corporation to oversee the project. Based on that understanding, Federal officials have committed to funding at least half of the estimated $20 billion that will be needed to complete the Gateway tunnel project. The project would allow continued rail traffic between Newark and Mid-town Manhattan during badly needed repairs on the existing, 105 year-old concrete and steel tubes. Ultimately, the project, slated for completion by 2030, would double capacity under the Hudson River.  For more on this, please click here.

III.    Mayors prep for the Annual League Conference. 

As you prepare to leave for Atlantic City and the 100th Annual League Conference, prepare your schedule by using the checklist of mayor-specific information found here http://www.njslom.org/Mayors-Newsline/2015-november-newsline.pdf

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 has 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.

V.        Division of Local Government Services Issues Guidance on Changes to Local Finance Board Matters

On August 10, 2015, the Governor signed Senate Bill S2454 into law as P.L.2015, c. 95, the "Division of Local Government Services Modernization and Local Mandate Relief Act of 2015" (For more information please see our August 14 Dear Mayor Letter). The law made changes to certain matters before the Local Finance Board.  Certain matters either no longer requiring application for approval by the Local Finance Board, or that remain Board matters but are subject to new provisions.  The Division has issued Local Finance Notice 2015-23, available at www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/15/2015-23.pdf, which discusses the following changes to: Environmental Infrastructure Trust loans, Qualified Bond Act municipalities seeking approvals for other bonding, a new cap on financing fees charged by an issuing entity, as well as credit enhancement fees charged by a local government unit and Municipal port authority budgets are now approved by DLGS Director rather than by the Local Finance Board.  

Staff Contact: Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 ext. 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.org

VI.  CY 2016 Municipal and County Budget Cap Information

The Division of Local Government Services has issued Local Finance 2015-22, available at www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/15/2015-22.pdf, addressing issues related to CY 2016 Municipal and County Budgets and the 1977 and 2010 cap laws. It includes information on the 1977 cap law Cost of Living Adjustment and the use of the COLA ordinance (resolution) and Group Health Insurance increase thresholds.  Please note that the State Health Benefits percentage increase for CY 2016 calculations is 5.8%, so the 1977 cap exception for Group Health Insurance for CY 2016 will be the increase over 4% up to the 5.8%increase.  The 2010 levy cap exemption for Group Health Insurances will be for increases over 2% up to 5.8%. 

Staff Contact: Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 ext. 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.org

VII.  Chapter 159 Submittal Deadline is December 23, 2015

The deadline for submitting insertion of special items of revenues (Chapter 159) resolutions to the Division is December 23, 2015.  The Chapter 159 Report is available from the "Fiscal Reports" link
(www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/resources/fiscal_rpts.shtml) on the Division website.  Also, all Title 40A 4-87 Insertion of Special Revenue and title 40A 4-85 Change of Title & Text resolutions adopted by a municipality or county must be submitted to the Division electronically as per LFN 2014-11 (www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/14/2014-11.pdf).  For assistance please contact Jorge Carmona at (609) 292-1430 or email jorge.carmona@dca.nj.gov.

Staff Contact: Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 ext. 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.org

VIII.   Implementation of GASB 68: Accounting & Financial Reporting for Public Employee
Pensions

The Division of Pensions and Benefits has issued the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 68 (GASB 68).  GASB 68 is an accounting and financial reporting for pensions administered by state and local government employers for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2014.  This statement impacts reporting by the State and all employers whose employees participate in a public pension system.  GASB 68 requires states to allocate, for reporting purposes only, pension liabilities of their centralized pension systems to all participating employees, including local governments.  Each local government’s allocation can be found at www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/gasb-68-rpts.shtml.

Local governments will not have to report the net pension liability as a liability on their balance sheets.  They will, however, be required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:30-6.1 (c)(2) to disclose GASB 68 information in the Notes to the Financial Statements.  It is important to note that this is a reporting requirement that will not change the amount of funds that must be budgeted for pension payments under existing law.  New Jersey Department of Treasury has communicated this to the rating agencies and they have given no indication that GASB 68 disclosure will generally result in credit downgrades.

The Division of Local Government Services has issued Local Finance Notice 2015-24, available at http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/15/2015-24.pdf, providing additional information and guidance on this issue.

Staff Contact:  Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 ext. 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.org

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

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