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April 15, 2016

RE:   Weekly Policy Update

I. DCA and DOT Commissioners Present Departmental Budget Testimonies
II. Christie Selects Trimpone for the State Supreme Court
III. Funding for Lead Remediation
IV. America’s PrepareAthon Day of Action celebrated on April 30
V. Empowerment Summit

Dear Mayor:

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

I. DCA and DOT Commissioners Present Departmental Budget Testimonies

On Monday, April 11, in Trenton, Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Chuck Richman presented testimony on the Governor’s proposed budget for DCA. On Wednesday morning, April 13, Department of Transportation (DOT) Acting Commissioner Richard Hammer spoke on the proposal’s impact on DOT.

Copies of the Office of Legislative Services’ (OLS) detailed budget analysis for these – and all other – Executive Branch Departments and Agencies is accessible on the web at the OLS Analysis of the Governor's Budget page. That site also includes links to the Commissioners’ testimonies, Departmental responses to OLS questions and copies of testimony presented at the Budget Committees’ public hearings.

On a budget related issue, NJ Spotlight Reporter Colleen O’Dea has posted an interactive map on the Spotlight web page, showing most NJ municipalities receive less property tax relief funding than they did in 2006.

Both Commissioners Richman and Hammer have over 30 years of experience in their respective Departments. They have both served, with honor and dedication, under both Republican and Democratic Governors and Commissioners. As a result, their perspective on the budget is very valuable. Both spoke of their focus on improved efficiency and citizen service.

DCA Commissioner Richman discussed the status and prospects for continued recovery from Superstorm Sandy, his Department’s work on housing for those with special needs and in providing supportive services for the Homeless. Questions posed by the members of the Assembly Budget Committee centered on Sandy recovery and the crisis in Atlantic City.

Acting DOT Commissioner Hammer spoke on the need to reauthorize the Transportation Trust Fund and on Departmental motorist, pedestrian, cyclist and passenger safety initiatives. He also debunked the “Reason Foundation” report, which had claimed that the DOT spends almost $2 million to repair and rebuild a mile of highway. That report relied on faulty assumptions and ignored the facts that New Jersey has more lane miles per center-line mile than any other State; as well as the fact that 94 percent of New Jersey’s roadway network is under the jurisdiction of municipalities, counties, and toll and bridge authorities.

Recordings of these, and other Committee hearings, are available (by date and time) at the OLS Assembly Budget Hearings Archives page.

Contact:  Jon Moran, jmoran@njslom.org or 609-695-3481 x121

II. Christie Selects Trimpone for the State Supreme Court

On Monday, Governor Christie, joined by State Senate President Steven Sweeney, announced his intention to appoint Walter Trimpone to the State Supreme Court.     The announcement appears to end an impasse over judicial nominees.     The Governor had previously nominated Judge David Bauman, a Superior Court judge from Monmouth County.    However, when it became apparent that Judge Bauman would not be considered by the State Senate, the Governor and Senate President agreed on Mr. Trimpone’s nomination.     Mr. Trimpone is a partner at McElroy, Mulvaney & Carpenter and is a former federal prosecutor. 

III.       Funding for Lead Remediation
Governor Christie recently announced $10 million in funding (from the current FY 2016 budget) to support lead remediation and containment for low- and moderate-income households in New Jersey.     Acting State Treasurer Ford M. Scudder, while testifying before the Assembly Budget Committee, indicated that the funding would come from the State’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and results from excess revenues garnered through the real estate transfer fee.    The remediation program will focus on one-and-two unit family dwellings in municipalities with the greatest need.   The remediation will be conducted by qualified non-profit organizations.  For more on this program, please click here.

IV.       America’s PrepareAthon Day of Action celebrated on April 30
The League of Municipalities joins FEMA Region II with its efforts to encourage participation in National Preparedness Month and this year’s America’s PrepareAthon!.  In keeping with that momentum, we encourage you to check out FEMA’s six preparedness tools to conduct PrepareAthon! activities for you constituents, employees and families.  Activity suggestions are posted online (http://www.njslom.org/prepareathon/index.html)  along with a letter of introduction from Jerome Hatfield Regional Administrator, FEMA Region II.

V.        Empowerment Summit
US Senator Bob Menendez is holding an Empowerment Summit in Trenton at the Trenton War Memorial on Friday, April 22, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

During a series of breakout sessions featuring federal government representatives, local service providers, community experts, and others, his goal is to provide a forum where participants can make new connections, interact with panelists, and build your toolkits for further opportunities.

The topics for the panel sessions include: Economic Empowerment – Access to Capital and Financial Literacy; Affordable Housing and Sustainable Homeownership; Community Economic Development; Empowering Our Veterans; Social Justice – Reentry and Creating a Second Chance, Voting Rights and Voter Registration; Healthcare and Preventive Care; and Education Empowerment – Head Start, elementary/secondary education, and college affordability.  

Participation is limited, so please RSVP by April 18, 2016. To RSVP, click here

Contact:  Vanessa Lawson or Keith Roachford. Vanessa can be reached (856) 757-5353 or vanessa_lawson@menendez.senate.gov and Keith can be reached (202) 224-4744 or keith_roachford@menendez.senate.gov.  

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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