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October 14, 2016

RE: WEEKLY UPDATE
I.    Policy Issues:  Legislation and Regulations
II.  101st Annual Conference Reminders

Dear Mayor:

I.  Policy Issues: Legislation and Regulations

a.   Transportation Trust Fund Reauthorization on Governor’s Desk
Last Friday, legislation to reauthorize the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) was approved by both the State Senate and the General Assembly.  The bill now awaits the signature of the Governor.  The legislation includes an increase in the motor fuel taxes, effective November 1 and a combination of tax reductions.  Of particular note to local governments is the doubling of the local aid portion of TTF, which was a key component in earlier plans.
For full page with background on this see: http://www.njslom.org/TTF/index.html
The major components of the amended legislation are, as follows.

1)  An 8-year program, generating $16 billion in state revenues and matching funds
     from the Federal Government.

2)  A Local aid funding from the TTF doubled from $200 million to $400 million, per
     year.

3)  A $0.23 increase in the motor fuel taxes, which would likely take effect starting
     in early November.

4)  An incremental reduction in the sales tax,  with a 1/8th reduction to 6.875%,
     effective January 1, 2017 and a 1/4th reduction to 6.625% effective January 1,
     2018.

5)  An Earned income tax credit increase from 30% to 35%, effective for tax year
     2016.

6)  An Incremental Gross Income Tax threshold increases for pensions and
     retirement monies over 4 years, reaching $100,000 for joint filers; $75,000 for
     single filers and $50,000 for married but filing separately.

7)  A Veterans’ exemption for income tax. 

8)  The Phase out of estate tax between now and January 2018; with an increase the
     current threshold of $675,000 to $2 million as of January 2017, and complete
     elimination as of January 1, 2018.  Please click here for A-10 and click here for A-12.

 Contacts: Jon Moran, Sr. Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x121                   and  Mike Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.org,
                  609- 695-3481 x120. 

b.  DEP Adopts New Water Quality Management Plan Rules

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has adopted new Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) rules. A copy of the final proposal and the DEP’s response to comments is available here.
           
By way of background, these rules are a component of the state’s water quality continuing planning process as required by the federal Clean Water Act. As a part of this regulatory system, the Governor has designated twelve area-wide Water Quality Management (WQM) Planning Areas in New Jersey. Each area has a WQM plan, also known as an area-wide plan. Wastewater Management Plans (WMPs) are components of the area-wide plans. WMPs are created by local agencies and approved by the DEP.
           
In 2008 the DEP amended the WQMP rules to be more restrictive than the previous rules and to encourage the adoption of up to date WMPs. The responsibility to create WMPs is placed on local agencies, first on the county and, alternatively, on the municipal level. The general consensus has been that these rules were unworkable.  Local agencies were granted additional time to complete WMPs in 2010. 
           
Thereafter, legislation was enacted to ameliorate the impact of these rules by allowing DEP to make individual determinations regarding water quality management planning in lieu of actual long term planning.  These proposed rules would reinstitute a planning process for wastewater planning in New Jersey.
Contact:  Ed Purcell Esq., epurcell@njslom.org, 609- 695-3481 x137.

c.  State Health Benefits Open Enrollment – Important Changes for 2017

The State Health Benefits Program Committee has approved new plan designs for 2017 that will be available during the current open enrollment period. The annual open enrollment for the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) has begun and continues to October 31, 2016.  Changes made during open enrollment will take effect on January 1, 2017.

There are several significant changes that have been made to the plan.  One A noteworthy change in 2017 is a pilot program to provide an incentive for joining the Tiered Network Plan.  This pilot program is optional for local employers.   For more information please see our recent blog post at https://njlmblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/

Contact: Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njslom.org ,
               609-695-3481 x112.

d.  Attorney General Issues Law Enforcement Directive Establishing a Community-
Law Enforcement Affirmative Relations Continuing Education Institute

In response to public concerns over police & community relations, the Attorney General has issued directive 2016-5. The directive, issued pursuant to the Attorney General’s constitutional and statutory authority as the State’s chief law enforcement officer, establishes and implements a system of continuing education to enhance police-community relations.

The directive: 1) establishes a Community-Law Enforcement Affirmative Relations Continuing Education Institute; 2) places requirements on every police officer to receive a certain amount of training from the institute. In particular, every officer must, by December 1, 2017, participate in “not less than five credit hours of qualifying continuing education as defined by the directive.” Thereafter, officers will be required to participate in least three credit hours of qualified training.

Officers can satisfy this training by participating in seminars provided by the institute. This includes live in-person trainings, live presentations broadcast electronically or by viewing an online tutorial or pre-recorded presentation.

e.  Reminder CY 2016/SFY 2017 “Best Practices” Checklist Issued

Last week, the Division of Local Government Services issued the CY 2016/SFY 2017 Best Practices Checklist.  Local Finance Notice 2016-13 provides guidance on this year’s process.  Calendar Year municipalities must submit their Best Practices checklist by Friday, October 21, 2016.  State Fiscal Year municipalities will have until Friday, April 7, 2017.  For more on this, please click here for the League’s Town Crier blog posting of September 22

Contacts:  Jon Moran, Sr. Legislative Analyst,  jmoran@njslom.org ,609-695-3481 x121,; and Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njslom.org,
609-695-3481 x112.

f.  Bureau of Municipal Information White Paper-  Wireless Systems in the Right of

Way: What You Need to Know

Municipalities are being approached by new entities that wish to use the rights of way to install new wireless telecommunications facilities. The League’s Bureau of Municipal Information has published a white paper to help municipalities understand access to rights of way and impacts of changing wireless technology, Wireless Systems in the Right of Way: What You Need to Know.  A copy of this white paper can be found here.  A list of other Bureau of Municipal Information white papers is available through this link.

Contact:   Ed Purcell Esq., League Staff Counsel, epurcell@njslom.org,
                 609- 695-3481 x137.

g.  Advocacy Tools for Local Officials

As Mentioned in our August 19 Friday recap letter the League is rolling out some new tools and initiatives for our advocacy efforts.  Please click here for more on our VoterVoice service.

We would suggest registering with that service to assist the League in future legislative efforts.  

And please click here to read the League’s new legislative blog, “The Town Crier.” 
Contact:  Mike Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

II.   101st Annual Conference Reminders

a.  We’ve Got an App for that:  Smartphone app available for 101st Conference

You can download the new official conference app.  Access a fully searchable session schedule, interactive map of the exhibit floor, a thorough listing of exhibitors, and up-to-date event information.  Don’t miss important sessions, speakers or exhibits – create a personalized schedule before you arrive at the Convention Center to maximize your experience! 
See: www.njslom.org/2016conf/app.

b.  Order Your Meal Function Tickets Now

For order forms for all League Meal functions go to:  http://www.njslom.org/2016conf/meal-functions.html.

c.  Women in Municipal Government Breakfast  “Connecting to Health in All Your Polices”

Presentation of the Thirteenth Annual Women in Government Award Honorees: Barbara George Johnson, Executive Director of John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy; Thomas Edison State University and The Mayors Wellness Campaign- Guest Speaker: Barbara George Johnson.

NJLM 2016 Conference CEU List Has Been Updated
The Annual Conference CEU list has been updated. You can view this list by clicking the following link: http://www.njslom.org/2016conf/CEU-listing.pdf  .  The list is not yet final so continue to check the page for updates. 

For a complete list of Conference CEU’s that includes sessions offered by our Affiliate groups and is searchable by CEU type, download our new conference mobile app. For more information on the app and how to download it click here:

 http://www.njslom.org/2016conf/app-download.html

Contact:  Danielle Holland, Seminar Manager, dholland@njslom.org, or 609-695-3481 x118.

d.  Mayors Hall of Fame Reminder         

Once again, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Executive Board wants to pay tribute to mayors who have served at least 10 years as mayor.  During the Mayors Box Luncheon at the Annual League Conference in November we will induct nominees to the Mayors Hall of Fame. 
See details on the nomination process here http://www.njslom.org/hallfame.html.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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