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February 5, 2016

RE:     Weekly Policy Update

I.         Mayors Legislative Day
II.        IRS Proposes Retirement Age Rules for Governmental Plans
III.       Guidance on Administration of LOSAPs
IV.       New Jersey Future March 11 Redevelopment Forum
V.        Involving Youth In Local Decision Making

Dear Mayor:

Here is summary of some issues of interest to local governments.

I.  Mayors Legislative Day

On Wednesday, Mayors from across the State convened at the League’s 24th Annual Mayors Legislative Day.    Topics discussed included the Transportation Trust Fund, pension and health benefits funding, affordable housing and property tax relief.   For a summary of the events, please click here.

Contact: Mike Cerra, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

II.  IRS Proposes Retirement Age Rules for Governmental Plans

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations defining the new "normal retirement age" (NRA) as it applies to governmental plans. As background, in 2007 the IRS issued regulations defining normal retirement age for all retirement plans; however, in response to lobbying by the National League of Cities (NLC) and other governmental pension stakeholder groups, the IRS held off on applying the new rules to governmental plans because of the difficulty local governments would have faced in implementing the rules, especially in those states where such a change would have required action by the state legislature or through a constitutional amendment.

The proposed rules would clarify the application of the 2007 NRA regulations to governmental plans and appear to address NLC's concerns with the earlier rules in two important ways. First, a governmental plan would not be required to define NRA if it did not provide for the payment of in-service distributions before age 62. Second, a governmental plan would be able to use a normal retirement age as low as 50 if the covered group consisted of qualified public safety employees e.g., police protection, firefighting services, or emergency medical services.

NLC is planning to submit comments, which are due by April 26, 2016.

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

III.  Guidance on Administration of LOSAPs

In response to the Office of State Comptroller Report on Length of Services Programs (LOSAPs) the Division of Local Government Services has issued Local Finance Notice 2016-03.  The Local Finance Notice highlights the Comptroller’s recommendations and updates existing guidance on LOSAPs. 

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

IV.  New Jersey Future March 11 Redevelopment Forum

New Jersey Future’s annual Redevelopment Forum attracts more than 500 attendees. New Jersey State Senator Stephen Sweeney will be the breakfast speaker and Gabe Klein, former director of the Chicago Department of Transportation, will be the keynote luncheon speaker.  For more information about the sessions and speakers, view the agenda.

V.   Involving Youth In Local Decision Making

We are forwarding you this important program information on behalf of League First Vice President Mayor Albert Kelly, Bridgeton.  Inquiry and responses should be directed to the contact at the end of his announcement.

Dear Fellow Members of the New Jersey League of Municipalities,

I would personally like invite you to attend Involving Youth in Local Decision Making, a symposium to explore current and potential methods of civically engaging the youth in our communities. This event, which I am presenting in collaboration with the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs, Rutgers University-Camden, the Institute for Effective Education, and the Rutgers University Camden Office of Civic Engagement, will take place on March 24, 2016 from 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM at the Rutgers University-Camden Campus Center.

Concerned by changing demographics and declining voter turnout in elections across the region, I have collaborated with staff and faculty at Rutgers University to investigate ways of increasing lifelong voting behavior among citizens, particularly the youth population. It is my belief, and that of Dan Hart, Professor of Childhood Studies and Psychology, and Faculty Director of the Institute for Effective Education, and Robert Atkins, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Nursing and an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in Nursing and Childhood Studies, that if youth were empowered to engage in the voting process at a younger age, they would continue to participate as they grow older.

While the voting age is not easily lowered, our ability to civically engage youth in an effort to increase voting behavior can be easily achieved. As such, our group is working with local government officials and young people to identify how to effectively incorporate youth into the decision making process at the local government level.

Involving Youth in Local Decision Making will consist of academic and youth panel discussions, as well as presentations from Laura Furr, Senior Program Manager for Justice Reform and Youth Engagement, National League of Cities, and keynote speaker, Scott Warren, Executive Director, Generation Citizen. Additionally, there will be opportunities for QA sessions and small group discussions centered on opportunities to develop youth engagement practices.

For the process to be most effective, local government officials are encouraged to attend with high school student leaders from their municipality so that community-specific conversations can occur. However, if partnership attendance is not feasible, your attendance is still requested in order to provide feedback and bring information back to your municipalities. 

To register for this free event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/involving-youth-in-local-government-decision-making-tickets-20919537901.

For more information, please contact Luke McKetta (luke.mcketta@rutgers.edu or 856-225-6831) or Dennis Palaez-Robles (dennis.palaez@camden.rutgers.edu or 856-225-6799).

Very truly yours,

Albert Kelly, League 1st Vice President, 
Mayor, Bridgeton

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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