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April 29, 2016

RE:  Weekly Policy Update

I.  Congress Takes Action on Environmental Priorities
II.  Free Emergency Preparedness Training
III.  Call for Submissions for Inaugural Public Private Partnership Awards – P3
IV.  2016 R/ECON Spring Friday, May 6, 2016
V.   Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge
VI.  NJLM Foundation “Smart Cities” Program May 13
VII. Filing Deadline for Annual Financial Disclosure Statement

Dear Mayor:

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

I. Congress Takes Action on Environmental Priorities

Last week in Washington, both the Senate and House took action on key environmental priorities: brownfields reauthorization and energy efficiency legislation.

On April 20, League Past President and Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Economy to advocate for brownfields reauthorization. At the hearing, Mayor Bollwage and Mathy Stanislaus, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste Management and Emergency Response, independently stated that the brownfields program is an engine for public-private partnership, jobs growth, and environmental protection. They underscored the pressing need for modernization to accelerate economic revitalization at the local level. Mayor Bollwage and Administrator Stanislaus presented strong arguments for increased funding, removal of funding caps, multi-purpose grants, reasonable administrative charges, eligibility clarification for previously acquired sites, CERCLA exemptions in cases of "non-involvement," and increased collaboration among all stakeholders.

Also on the 20th, the Senate passed, by a vote of 85-12, the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012), which will improve energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings, schools, appliances, federal buildings, and manufacturing. Additionally, the bill reauthorizes the Weatherization Assistance Program through 2020 and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, both of which NLC supports.

In addition, two amendments that the National League of Cities (NLC) supported were included in the bill. The first was an amendment, sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet CO) and Johnny Isakson (GA). Known as the SAVE Act, it will provide lenders and homeowners with more flexible federal mortgage underwriting rules that would include a home's expected energy cost savings when determining the value and affordability of the home. The second beneficial amendment was sponsored by Senators James Inhofe (OK), Edward Markey (MA) and our own U.S. Senator Cory Booker. It will reauthorize the EPA brownfields program. The amendment authorizes funding for multipurpose grants and increased technical assistance for communities, among other provisions that NLC supports. However, the full liability clarifications that NLC is seeking were not included.

The bill must now be reconciled with a House-passed version, H.R. 8, which passed the chamber in December and focuses much more on fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the House measure.

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

II. Free Emergency Preparedness Training

We bring you the following information in cooperation with the Chemistry Council of New Jersey.

The Chemistry Council of New Jersey is supporting TRANSCAER® (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) by promoting safe transportation and handling of hazardous substances.

With the increased attention about rail shipments of HAZMATs, we wanted to make sure you were aware of this upcoming training opportunity, and that you would consider visiting on one of the training days to view for yourself the industry’s commitment to working with transportation partners, including rail carriers, shippers, first responders and government officials. These efforts further enhance the safe transportation of chemicals and the operating conditions under which they travel.

The 2016 North East Training Tour includes two stops in New Jersey this spring.  The rail tour stops include Newark, NJ (May 4, 5) and Westville, NJ (May 18, 19).  This tour is sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company, which has teamed with Axeon, Benjamin Moore, Crestwood, CSX and Conrail Railroads, DANA Transport, Kuehne Company, Quality Distribution Inc., Sunoco Logistics, The Chlorine Institute, Firefighters Education and Training Foundation, and many other local supporting agencies.

Please, have your staff contact Elvin Montero at the Chemistry Council of New Jersey at 609-392-4214 or via email at emontero@chemistrycouncilnj.org to register and coordinate your visit on the preferred date.

III. Call for Submissions for Inaugural Public Private Partnership Awards – P3

This is a CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS for the inaugural public private partnership awards. 
P3’s are all around us and should be recognized as a vital method for municipalities to achieve public goals. Click for more details http://www.njbiz.com/section/Public-Private-Awards-Nom
                 
IV. 2016 R/ECON Spring Friday, May 6, 2016

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Rutgers, New Brunswick, NJ

Free and open to the public.

Rutgers Economic Advisory Service presentation will highlight the current New Jersey and
national economic climate. Distinguished Professor and Dean James W. Hughes will begin the conference with a review of the historical trends and new realities; staff members will then present the R/ECON™ long-term forecast for New Jersey’s economy. A discussion period will follow.
To RSVP for this event please contact Marcia Hannigan at 848-932-2828 or email mhanniga@ejb.rutgers.edu.

V.   Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge

The Aetna Foundation, in partnership with the American Public Health Association, the National Association of Counties, and CEOs for Cities, is accepting applications from small to mid-sized cities, and from counties working to improve the health of their residents.

The goal of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is to develop practical, evidence-based strategies that improve measurable health outcomes and promote health and wellness, equity, and social interaction. Through the challenge, the foundation will award more than $1.5 million in grants.

Phase 1 applications must be received no later than May 31, 2016.  Upon review, selected applicants will move on to Phase 2 of the challenge.

For complete program guidelines and application instructions, see the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge website.

Click here to link to the complete RFP.  Or click here to read the full announcement on the League’s Grant News and Information page, part of the League’s Grant Resource Center.

VI. NJLM Foundation “Smart Cities” Program May 13

The concept of “Smart Cities” incorporates improving the quality of life by using technology to improve the efficiency of city services and meet residents’ needs. 

This NJLM Foundation program will explain Smart City technology such as:  saving energy, adding security, creating efficiencies, and understanding the costs and implementation process.    Some of these advances are already happening here in New Jersey.  This program will give you a better understanding of the possibilities and show you real examples of what Smart Cities can do. 

Presenters include local government practitioners, Fortune 100 Smart Cities advisors, and New Jersey experts.  Registration for this Foundation event includes lunch, and is just $25, thanks to the generous support of Verizon New Jersey.

Click here to register and see full details http://www.njlmef.org/051316-smartcitytech.html

VII. Filing Deadline for Annual Financial Disclosure Statement

As a reminder, the deadline for filing your Annual Financial Disclosure Statement is April 30th.  The Division of Local Government Services has issued guidance on the filing of the 2016 Financial Disclosure Statements.  Local Finance Notice 2016-08 outlines filing procedures that are designed to facilitate efficiency and enhance transparency by using available technology to capture and report the financial disclosure statements that are collected. 

Please note that the Local Finance Board may periodically conduct audits for compliance and initiate investigations. In such cases, the Local Government Officer will be given an opportunity to file the Financial Disclosure Statement and to provide an explanation. The Local Finance Board will then review the explanation and determine whether the Local Government Officer has established good cause for the lack of a timely or complete filing. In cases where the Local Government Officer does not establish good cause, the Local Finance Board will assess against the Local Government Officer an appropriate fine that is not less than $100 nor more than $500, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.10. In addition, for elected officials, the failure to file a FDS can subject the municipality to a loss of State Aid, as it is a question on the “Best Practices” Questionnaire.

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

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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