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June 17, 2016

Re: Weekly Policy Update

I.  Transportation Trust Fund
II.  Senate Committee Releases Bill That Applies Local Bid Threshold To Other Procurement Laws
III.  Bill Preempting Municipal Regulation of Some Taxi Services Advances  
IV.  Urgent Legislative Alert: Affordable Housing “Gap” Period
V.  Newly Updated License Fee Publication - Available now!
VI.  Join NLC for special events!
VII. Upcoming Free Training from Sustainable Jersey
VIII.  New Economic Development Resource Available

Dear Mayor:

I.  Transportation Trust Fund

As discussed in our June 13 Letter, a plan has been advanced, with bipartisan support, which would ensure adequate funding for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) for the next ten years. The plan also doubles the Local Aid component of the TTF, to $400 million a year, for each of those next ten years. 

We believe the plan will be embodied in three parts, two of which have yet to be introduced.

One bill would adjust state gas taxes, in order to provide full funding for the TTF. It would also modify other State revenue generators, in order to ensure tax fairness for New Jersey residents.

A second bill would reauthorize the TTF and provide for the administration of the fund. It would also include the provisions ensuring the 100% increase in Local Aid funding. 

It is possible that the local aid increase could be the subject of negotiations, so we would strongly urge you to reach out to your Legislators and ask them to support the proposed increase in the local portion, which will offset the decreases in the local portion through the years.  For more, please click here for a joint op-ed by the League and the Association of Counties. 

Lastly, a proposal to ask the voters to amend their Constitution to dedicate all motor fuels tax proceeds to the TTF passed both Houses, by supermajorities, in January. That proposal will go to the voters this November. If approved by New Jersey citizens, this would prevent the diversion of these monies to other purposes in future budgets.

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

II. Senate Committee Releases Bill That Applies Local Bid Threshold To Other
Procurement Laws
       

On Thursday, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee amended and released S-728, which would apply the local public contract bid threshold amounts for local Pay- to- Play and prevailing wage laws.  S-728 was amended to include boards of education and county colleges. 

The League of Municipalities strongly supports S-728, as it would change the threshold for Pay-to-Play from $17,500 to the local bid threshold; and, the Prevailing Wage threshold for municipalities from $15,444 to the local bid threshold; and, for boards of education and counties, from $2,000 to the local bid threshold. Please note that the local bid threshold is up to $40,000 if the municipality has a Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA); and without a QPA, it is $17,500. As a result, the quote threshold is up to $6,000 if the municipality has a QPA, and without a QPA it is $2,625. For more information please see our June 10 letter.

This common-sense bill that links the procurement thresholds while keeping the intent of each law intact now awaits consideration by the full Senate.   The Assembly companion A-1118, which is sponsored by Assemblywomen Oliver, Pintor Marin, Jasey, Tucker, and Assemblyman McKeon, awaits consideration by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.
Please contact your Senator and urge them to support S-728.

Contact: Lori Buckelew, lbuckelew@njslom.org or 609-695-3481, x112

III. Bill Preempting Municipal Regulation of Some Taxi Services Advances

On Thursday, June 16, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S-2179. The League opposes this bill, as currently drafted.

Like A-3695 (See our June 3 Update for details.) this proposal would create a new class of taxis, exempt from local oversight. Section 24 of S-2179 exempts a ‘transportation network company’ (Uber or Lyft, for example) and its drivers from any local regulation.

Since 1917, in order to protect prospective passengers and the general public, and to preserve order, municipalities have been empowered by statute to license and regulate ride-for-hire businesses. Throughout that period, in order to protect the public, local governing bodies have been responsive to concerns raised by passengers, pedestrians, local merchants and other motorists. Local first responders have attended to accidents. While no level of regulation is perfect, municipalities have clearly demonstrated their effectiveness in this area for close to 100 years.

The manner in which the service is dispatched and provided does not materially alter the responsibilities that local governments will bear. Nor will the manner of dispatch obviate the concerns of local elected officials in ensuring the public’s legitimate interests in public safety. Further, enactment of this bill could motivate traditional taxi and limousine businesses to; similarly, avoid local over-sight, by a change to their business models. That, in turn, could make it more difficult for older residents and for the economically disadvantaged to access transportation alternatives. On that basis, absent deletion of the preemption provisions, the League of Municipalities cannot support this legislation.

For these reason, we oppose S-2179, as currently drafted. The bill now stands at Second Reading in the Senate and can be posted for a vote at any time. The similar bill, A-3695, is ready for final action in the Assembly.

Please contact your Legislators in opposition to these bills.

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

IV. Urgent Legislative Alert: Affordable Housing “Gap” Period

We again call your attention to Senate bill S-2254 and Assembly Bill A-3821.     The League supports this important legislation, which will facilitate municipal compliance and result in the production of affordable housing.  Please click here for the League’s Dear Mayor Advisory of May 26, which summarizes the legislation and provides links to a sample resolution.  Your immediate attention on this issue is needed in order to advance this timely and needed legislation.

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

V.   Newly Updated License Fee Publication - Available now!

Is your municipality looking to update its licensing fees?  Do you need the most current information on the licensing fees charged by your neighboring municipalities?

The League is pleased to publish an update of fees pertaining to: mercantile, peddler, solicitor, canvasser, itinerant vendors, vending machines and taxi and limousine licensing fees.

This electronic publication includes the data laid out in tables in a PDF file, as well as a Microsoft Excel file containing the raw data, and will be emailed to you after purchasing.
Volume 1 may be purchased by League members for $50.

We are also currently in the process of updating two additional volumes of the License Fees Series: Volumes 2 & 3 (coming soon!). Volume 2 will list fee for alarms and false alarm penalties.  Volume 3 will list fees for dogs, cats, liquor, garage sales, flea markets and auction licensing fees.

For a limited time, the League is offering the option to purchase all three newly updated books (Volumes 1, 2 & 3) at the discounted price of $100 for League members.  Purchase now and each volume will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.

Click here to visit our publication order form.

Contact: Suzanne Allen, sallen@njslom.org or (609) 695-3481, x129

VI. Going to the DNC or RNC convention? Join NLC for special events!

To ensure that the issues important to municipalities are first in mind, with the Republican and Democratic nominees for president, the National League of Cities is traveling to Cleveland and Philadelphia this July for the national political conventions. At both events NLC will be hosting an infrastructure briefing and a networking reception for local officials and would like to invite you to attend!
 
If you're going as a delegate to either convention, please fill out this form and you will be the first to know about NLC's activities and speaker announcements in the coming weeks!

For questions around NLC's activities in Cleveland, please contact Angelina Panettieri at panettieri@nlc.org.
For questions about Philadelphia, please contact Emma Lieberth lieberth@nlc.org.

VII. Upcoming Free Training from Sustainable Jersey

Sustainable Jersey is offering free seminars and webinars on the topic “Pathways and Incentives to Financing Clean Energy”.  This training is being offered in various locations on multiple dates. For details consult their web site at: http://www.sustainablejersey.com/events-trainings/calendar/

VIII.    New Economic Development Resource Available

A number of local elected officials assisted PlanSmart NJ in developing its  Guide to the Future, a user-friendly guide for local officials and their advisors on how to repurpose underutilized office parks and retail centers.  The Guide includes data on the economic impacts of corporate flight from the suburbs, recommendations on planning for the future in light of demographic shifts, creating opportunities and overcoming challenges in repurposing, lessons learned from current projects, and a step-by-step guide to revitalization.    

For a copy of the guide, please click here.     

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

Published 6/17/16

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