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March 24, 2017

RE:  WEEKLY UPDATE
I.    State Policy Issues
II.   Federal Policy Issues
III.  2017 League Salary Survey
IV. Also of Interest

Dear Mayor:

I. State Policy Issues

a. PFRS Transfer Legislation Advances

In spite of strong opposition of local officials on behalf of property taxpayers,  the General Assembly approved S-3040/A-99 by a vote of 60 yes, 4 no and 11 abstentions.     We appreciate, acknowledge, and thank the following for their no votes:   Jon Bramnick, John DiMaio,  Declan O’Scanlon and John Wisniewski.  

We will provide you with the official vote count when it is posted online.    

We now urge you to contact the Governor’s office at 609-292-6000 and ask that the Governor VETO or Conditionally Veto  S-3040/A-99.
 
Click here  for more information on this legislation.

Contacts:
Michael J. Darcy, Executive Director, mdarcy@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x116
Michael F. Cerra, Asst. Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120
Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x112.

b. League President Speaks on Governor’s Budget Proposal

On Wednesday, in Glassboro, League of Municipalities’ President, Mayor Albert Kelly of the City of Bridgeton, spoke before the Assembly Budget Committee. Mayor Kelly urged the legislators responsible for spending decisions during the State’s next fiscal year, beginning on July 1, to “focus on ways that you can help local officials to better serve our property taxpayers.”

Mayor Kelly went on to list a number of specific matters where State action could help to contain property taxes, including:

  • Restoration of $320 million ETR/CMPTRA funding, which the State has been using, since the recession hit, to balance State spending; 
  • Protection for taxpayers in municipalities, where the Urban Enterprise Zone program was allowed to expire at the end of last year;
  • Relief from a new mandate, requiring municipal public defenders to represent  certain indigent defendants in County criminal courts; and
  • An end to the diversion of the fees collected to modernize New Jersey’s 911 emergency response system, and the rededication of those resources to providing our citizens with the State of the Art emergency communications system that they were promised and that they have been paying for since 2004.

Mayor Kelly also urged the legislators to:

  •  Extend the interest arbitration cap (set to expire at the end of the year), which limits the awards that an independent arbitrator can impose on local taxpayers, when a town and a public safety employees’ union reach an impasse in contract negotiations; and
  • Resist efforts to use future local government health benefit savings to fund State government pension obligations.

Finally, on the matter of school funding, Mayor Kelly told the committee, “We stand ready to assist that effort in any way that we can. … As you work to improve school funding, we only ask that you respect two principles: Fairness and Equity for our property taxpaying residents and businesses. You know that property taxes are unfair and inequitable. They are not based on the ability to pay and fall heaviest on those living on fixed incomes. They drive investment and economic development away from the Garden State. The solution to school funding must not make the property tax burden any heavier. We hope it can make it much lighter.”
Go to http://www.njslom.org/testimony/032217-kelly-budget.pdf to read the full text of Mayor Kelly’s testimony.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org ,609-695-3481, x121.

c. Survey on 2016 E-Waste Collection

 On January 9, Governor Christie signed the Electronic Waste Management Act, P.L.2016, c. 87, making various changes to the State’s electronic waste recycling law for covered electronic devices (CEDs).  These devices include desktop or personal computer, computer monitor, portable computer, desktop printers, desktop fax machines, or televisions. 

The Department of Environmental Protection would like to know if your municipality was covered by a CED manufacturer’s E-Waste collection plan in 2016.  Knowing which municipalities were covered will assist the Department in rolling out the implementation plan for the new Electronic Waste Management Act.  Please note that if your municipality was charged last year then you were not covered by a manufacturer’s e-waste collection plan in accordance with the established E-Waste law.  For further clarification on E-Waste collection please click here.

To assist the Department of Environment Protection, we are requesting that you, or the appropriate staff member, complete a quick survey on your Municipal E-Waste.

If you have questions about this request for information please contact Frank Piliere, P.E. Environmental Specialist 4, NJDEP, Site Remediation & Waste Management Program Bureau of Recycling & Hazardous Waste Management at (609) 984-3649 or Frank.Piliere@dep.nj.gov.

II. Federal Policy Issues

a. President Trump’s Budget Blueprint

Here are some facts and figures that we have been able to glean, as we continue to analyze the President’s budget blueprint for the Federal Fiscal Year, beginning on October 1, 2017.

The blueprint calls for the following cuts.

• Eliminates the USDA Water and Wastewater loan and grant program, a reduction of $498 million
• Cuts $250 million by zeroing out National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants and programs that support coastal and marine management, research and education
• Reduces or eliminates 20 programs within the Department of Education, including Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership and Impact Aid support payments for federal property and international education programs
• Cuts FEMA state and local grant funding by $667 million, including the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program and Homeland Security Grant Program
• Eliminates funds for Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing
• Cuts federal subsidies to Amtrak and eliminates support for Amtrak's long-distance services.
• Cuts funding to the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Program so new projects will not be funded.

The budget would also zero out funding for:

• Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which funds research including clean energy;
• Community Development Block Grant, which in part funds Meals on Wheels;
• Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants, under Treasury;
• Community Services Block Grant, under HHS;
• Corporation for National and Community Service;
• Economic Development Administration;
• HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Self-help Homeownership    Opportunity Program, all under HUD;
• Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program;
• Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation;
• TIGER transportation grants;
• United States Interagency Council on Homelessness;
• Weatherization Assistance Program; and
• Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org , 609-695-3481 x121.

III. 2017 League Salary Survey

The League is conducting its biannual compilation of wages and salaries paid to mayors, governing body members and other key administrative personnel, including police officials.  We are writing to request your response to a survey to help us gather this data.  In order to use the data that you so generously take the time to provide, we request your response no later than April 12, 2017. 

You may find and complete the survey in 9 minutes by clicking here.  If you would prefer to print a copy of the survey to complete by hand, you may do so by clicking here.

Contact: Taran B. Samhammer, Advertising Manager, tsamhammer@njslom.org, 609- 695-3481 x124.

IV. Also of Interest

a. New Jersey State Forest Fire Seasonal Prescribed Burning Program is Under Way

Prescribed burns will take place through the end of March, conditions permitting. The New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry will provide as much notice as possible of prescribed burns through its Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/newjerseyforests. The public may also contact the State Forest Fire Service at 609-292-2977.

b. Help other municipalities find vendors, while helping to support the League’s magazine

Have you recently worked with a vendor and think that other municipalities could benefit from their services?  Please tell your vendor about the League’s magazine, NJ Municipalities!

NJ Municipalities is an award winning monthly magazine read by over 6,355 readers.  It has been a local government news source for over 100 years, and is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017!

Advertising can help spread your vendor’s message!  Let us know your vendor’s contact information so that we can send them a free sample.

Thank you for your support of NJLM!

Contact: Taran B. Samhammer, Advertising Manager, tsamhammer@njslom.org 609- 695-3481 x124.

c. Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service

On the day for National Service, mayors and county officials will hold public events and use traditional and social media to highlight the value of national service to the nation’s cities and counties. Last year, 3,539 elected officials representing more than 178 million Americans participated in the fourth-annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service. The initiative is being led by the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, Cities of Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors and county officials will participate in the fifth-annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service on April 4, 2017. To register, click here!

Sincerely,

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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