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October 27, 2017

RE:  WEEKLY UPDATE

I. State Issues
II. Federal Issues
III. 102nd Annual League Conference
IV. Also of Interest

Dear Mayor:

I.  State Issues

a. Interest Arbitration Cap Extension

The League’s top legislative priority is the common sense extension of the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards.    The League is working closely with the Conference of Mayors and the Association of Counties to extend this proven tool to curtail property tax increases.   We are now 65 days away from the expiration of the 2% cap on interest arbitration.  Your Legislators and the candidates for office need to hear from you today!   The evidence and facts are clear and unambiguous: the 2% interest arbitration cap which has proven to be an effective tool to curtail property taxes.   

Here’s what you can do:

  • If you haven’t done so already, please adopt the League’s model resolution (word or pdf) urging the State Legislature and Governor to extend the 2% interest arbitration cap. 
  • Please communicate regularly with your State Legislators and candidates for office.  Please be sure to urge them to push for the extension when the Legislature reconvenes after the elections.       
  • Please educate your residents on this issue and urge them to contact their Legislators as well.  

Resources:

Contacts:
Michael Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120;
Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x112. 

b. Voters Asked to Approve New Funding for Libraries

On July 21, the Governor signed PL 2017, c. 149, the “New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act.” This bill, upon voter approval, authorizes the issuance of $125,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance capital projects at public libraries. As a result, on Election Day, New Jersey voters will cast their ballots on Public Question 1, the “Bonds for Public Libraries Measure. “

The League joined the New Jersey Library Association in support of the enabling legislation, particularly since the funding must be approved by the voters. This will allow, if the voters of the State agree, for much-needed funding to provide for the construction, reconstruction, development, extension, improvement, and furnishing of New Jersey’s public libraries. Specifically, for any approved project financed by bond proceeds, the grant award will support 50% of the cost of the project, and the appropriate local governing entity in the area served by the public library will support 50% of the cost of the project.

For more, please click here for the League’s Town Crier post. 

Contact: Michael Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

c. Mayors Survey

Mayors, have you completed the 2017 Mayors survey? By now, you should have received via regular mail a letter from the League dated September 6, which included the 2017 Mayors Survey and other information.  

If you misplaced a copy, please email mcerra@njslom.org.   Please take the time to complete the survey as soon as possible.

II. Federal Issues

a. House Passed Budget Threatens Local Property Tax Deduction

Yesterday, in Washington, the United States House of Representative passed a budget resolution, which will allow Congress, as it considers tax reform, to deny citizens the ability to claim a Federal Income Tax deduction for the amount of money they have already paid, in state and local taxes. This deduction, known by the acronym SALT (for State And Local Taxes), has been part of the United States tax code as long as there has been a federal income tax.

Repeal of the SALT deduction would lower home values and constrain New Jersey local budgets, which rely on property taxes to fund essential services and programs, more so than municipalities in any other state.

On Wednesday, we asked you to contact your representatives, in opposition to the resolution. Thanks to those of you who did, eleven members of New Jersey’s twelve member delegation voted against the proposal, because of the threat it poses to preservation of the SALT deduction.

We thank Representatives Gottheimer, Lance, LoBiondo, MacArthur, Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Sires, Smith, and Watson Coleman for their support. If your municipality is in any of the Districts that they represent, please express your gratitude for their consideration.

The fight to preserve SALT goes forward.   The House is scheduled to release a draft tax reform bill next week. From there, it will go to the Ways and Means Committee. We will let you know what actions are needed, once we are able to evaluate that proposal.

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

b. Federal Broadband Preemption

Earlier this summer we informed you about a meeting of the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”), Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (“BDAC”).  See our blog post here. The purpose of the BDAC is to identify barriers to broadband deployment and to make suggestions to the FCC on how to best remove any identified barriers. On November 9th the BDAC will hold its final meeting and is expected to issue its recommendations to the FCC. 

The concern with the Committee and any recommendations that will come from it is that a disproportionate amount of its members represent the telecommunication industry and very few local representatives have been included. As a result of the Committee’s skewed membership local perspectives have not been fully considered. This has caused the discussions of the BDAC to turn towards advancing federal preemption of local authority. Preemption would mean local governments in NJ and nationwide would lose the authority to control their rights-of-way, including the ability to obtain fair compensation for the use of this public asset.

Because of the importance of this issue the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayor, and the National Association of Counties have joined together and have written a letter to the FCC urging them to more fully consider the perspectives of local governments in its BDAC recommendations and ongoing rulemaking around local land use and rights-of-way governance. These groups are now inviting others to add their signature to this letter.

This is an important issue and we urge our members to join in voicing their concerns not only with the membership of the BDAC but also with the attempted federal overreach in local broadband decision making.  For more information and to add your name to this letter please click here.

Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, fmarshall@njslom.org or 609-695-3481 x. 137.     

III. 102nd Annual League Conference

a. 2017 Conference App is Available Now!

The 2017 Conference App is available now. Visit your device’s App Store to download. Download the app to view the full session schedule, including descriptions. Filter the schedule by CEU or group hosting. View the full exhibitor listing and create a custom schedule.

You must download and register for the 2017 version to view information for the 102nd Annual Conference; the 2016 version will not be updated.

The 2017 Conference App is Exclusively Sponsored by Phoenix Advisors, LLC.

b. Don’t Use Unauthorized Hotel Reservation Services

Every year there are unauthorized firms soliciting housing and hotel reservations from attendees at the Annual League Conference.

We assure you that the only firm authorized to handle our conference housing reservations is A.C. Central Reservations. 

This information is on the top of the official conference housing form sent to all municipal clerks and posted on our website: www.njslom.org/2017conf/index.html

c. Plan Now for November: Exhibit Highlights

The Exhibit Hall at the League’s Annual Conference offers a wide variety of services and products. Each day at the conference, take the opportunity to enjoy the exhibit floor by stopping in for a nice lunch and visits to the booths for every municipal need, concern, and interest.

Begin to make your list of exhibitors to visit including current favorites and the 62 new exhibiting companies–or contact them now! Plan today by visiting our interactive map at https://shows.map-dynamics.com/NJLM2017/
d. NJLM 2017 Conference CEU List Has Been Posted!

The first version of Annual Conference CEU list has been posted. You can view this list by clicking the following link: www.njslom.org/2017conf/ceu-list.pdf

Please note, the Annual Conference CEU list is not final, please continue to check the conference page www.njslom.org/2017conf/index.html frequently for updates.

e. Don’t Forget! CEU Tracking System Procedures for 102nd Annual NJLM Conference

Badge Scanners will be used to track CEU Credits and Attendance at the NJLM 102nd Annual Conference.

For Sessions that Have CEU credit Available

  • All Attendees looking to earn credit must scan-in and scan-out of these qualifying sessions* to earn their CEU credits.
  • Attendees will claim their certificates after the conference via the League website www.njslom.org/confceu/

For more information or for a complete list of procedures please click the following link for www.njslom.org/2017conf/ceu.html

* Please note, the procedures described above only apply to educational sessions. Business Meetings and vendor sessions are not included in the scanning system.

IV. Also of Interest

The New Jersey League of Municipalities, The New Jersey Water Works Municipal Outreach Committee, and The New Jersey Urban Mayors Association Present:

The Water Quality Accountability Act and Making the Case for Investment in
Water Infrastructure

October 30, 2017
9:00a.m. to 12:30p.m
Conference Center at Mercer
1200 Old Trenton Rd
West Windsor, NJ 08550

The Water Quality Accountability Act requires operators of all water systems to implement asset-management plans to inspect, maintain, repair and renew drinking water systems to comply with water industry standards nationwide. It also requires operators institute Cybersecurity programs to prevent hackers from accessing these systems. This seminar will discuss the water infrastructure challenges faced by local governments, both in terms of available financing and compliance with the new State Water Accountability Act and how to get rate payer support for these required upgrades.

CEU’s: CMFO/CCFO-4.0 Off Mgmt/Anc;CPWM-2.0 MGMT,2.0 GOVT,RMC-4.0 Prof Devel, QPA-4.0 Off Admin/Gen Duties;CPA-4.0 Fin; NJCLE-4.0;PACLE-3.5*

www.njslom.org/seminar-documents/2017-oct30-waterinfrastructure.html

Sincerely,                                                                                                                                            

Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Executive Director

 

 

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