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July 10, 2009

FROM TIME TO TIME – A Quarterly Report on the Activities of the New Jersey League of Municipalities

April – June, 2009

We have advocated for municipalities in Trenton by

  • Promoting and negotiating key amendments to soften the property tax impact of the State’s decision to allow developers to alter agreements regarding the construction of age restricted housing.
  • Combating efforts to define facilities that supply electrical energy produced from wind, solar or photovoltaic technologies as an ‘inherently beneficial use’ pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law.
  • Participating in meetings with leading legislators to promote sustainable legislation to impose appropriate residency restrictions on convicted sex offenders.
  • Continuing efforts to lessen the burden to be imposed by the “Qualified Purchasing Agent’ mandate.
  • Opposing the diversion of EMT training funds and recycling grant monies to the State’s General Fund, as well as other actions designed to balance New Jersey’s budget by cutting municipal revenue replacement revenues.
  • Working with the Assessors Association of New Jersey, and supporting legislation that would allow the local assessor to administer partial or neighborhood re-assessment to address the decline in residential values without seeking State approval.  
  • Submitting objections to the COAH regulations, based on comments of our COAH committee and the comments submitted to us by our members.
  • Supporting unfunded mandates relief.
  • Participating in a working group created by Department of Banking and Insurance to discuss a potential proposal related to the appropriate collateralization levels for banks which hold municipal deposits.
  • Mayor Fred Profeta, Chairman of the Mayors Committee for a Green Future, along with representatives from the Sustainable NJ Institute and the Land Use Center for the College of NJ, met with BPU Commissioner Jeanne Fox and her staff to discuss possible grant funding for Sustainable Jersey.

We have advocated for municipalities in Washington by

  • Working with NLC and our Delegation to maximize direct funding to municipal governments in the Federal Budget and the economic stimulus package.

We have strengthened local leadership capacity by

  • Reducing seminar costs by 6%, without jeopardizing the integrity of the seminars.
  • Developed and produced 44 continuing education units/hours for 16 licensed government personnel.  (24 sessions offered from March through June).
  • Offering a public officials’ information session in conjunction with the NJ Recreation & Park Association (NJRPA) Community Recreation Society, “Protecting Our Children from Sexual Predators:  Criminal History Record Background Checks.”  Guest speaker, Maureen Kanka, Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation, Inc. founder, informed attendees about grant monies through the Check ‘ Em Out Program.
  • Continuing, in cooperation with NLC, the distribution of regular updates on legislative, judicial and regulatory developments in our Nation’s Capital.
  • Orchestrating in collaboration with the NJ Department of Archives and Records Management were 10 workshops, training 300 professionals on the mandatory ARTEMIS computer system.
  • Coordinating tours of the Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC), a state-of-the-art emergency management facility.
  • In conjunction with NJN, hosting a special two hour session on how to get your message out in the new media.
  • Partnering with Senators Menendez and Lautenberg and the Governor's Office, joined by various state and Federal Agencies, for a full day briefing at the War Memorial in Trenton on Federal Stimulus Funding opportunities.
  • Partnering with the DEP in offering the 8th Annual Mayor’s Roundtable on Brownfields remediation in Trenton. Over 125 municipal officials attended.

We have provided municipal officials with resources for problem solving by

  • Updating the Elected Officials Handbook and the Access to Public Records publication.
  • In conjunction with NJMMA, the League launched a new resource center: The Recruitment and Selection Advisory Service, to provide guidance to local governments in the hiring process of Managers and/or Administrators.
  • Our biannual Municipal Salary Surveys were sent out to query municipalities on the salaries of several positions held within their municipality.  The results of these surveys will be published in booklet-form this fall.
  • League Educational Foundation President Louise Wilson and various league staff met with representatives of Verizon and National League of Cities representatives to discuss funding details for a Mayors Book Club program to be launched in 2009.
  • Continuing to provide articles and featured links on our Grant Resource Center’s main page with the assistance of our grants consultants at Triad Associates.
  • Providing many educational sessions at the annual League Conference in November.
  • Continuing to provide several resource centers on our website including, but not limited to: the Grant Resource Center, the Aging and Senior Resource Center, a Purchasing Resource Center and an Ordinance Library.
  • Hosting and administering year-round education seminars to help local officials deal with and solve issues and problems at the municipal level.
  • Making available audio recordings of dozens of educational sessions from the Annual Conference
  • Keeping municipal officials advised of legal developments affecting municipalities.
  • Reviewing proposed regulations for municipal impact and commenting if appropriate.
  • Establishing web based knowledge centers on the State Budget and CMPTRA Cuts.
  • Hosting the Annual Conference Planning Meeting with 19 Affiliate Association to discuss details for the 94th Annual Conference. Also representatives of the Convention Center, Shuttle Bus service, Housing Services and Convention Center Catering office made presentations on how they can be of assistance.
  • Holding first “COAH Regional Briefing” at Bergen County Community College.
  • Publishing Volume 2, No. 2 of the “Friends of Local Government” Policy Paper series by the League’s Educational Foundation. 

We have promoted municipal government by

  • Authoring several op-ed pieces defending the principles of home rule, self-determination and the need for property tax reform.   Multiple pieces ran in the Newark Star-Ledger, the Trenton Times, the Asbury Park Press, the Bergen Record and across the State.
  • Producing regular Media Alerts to the press, covering every aspect of new public policy developments in Trenton.
  • Establishing, through the auspice of League Executive Officers, a Women In Municipal Government Committee which membership consists of all elected and appointed women mayors and council members in New Jersey.
  • Creating a Women In Municipal Government webpage which provides relevant information on select programs and events of particular interest to women as well as a survey on women mayors in the State.
  • League President attended the Governor's Transportation Summit hosted by the Alliance for Action and spoke on local transportation funding needs.
  • The Green Building Council of New Jersey honored the League of Municipalities Mayor's Committee for a Green Future with an outstanding Achievement Award at a special awards gala in Parsippany Troy Hills
  • The Mayor's Committee for a Green future joined up with representatives of Sustainable Jersey in announcing the winners of the first annual sustainable Jersey grants at a press conference at the state house in Trenton. Over 20 towns were recipients of $200,000 in grants funded by Wal-Mart.
  • Hosting the 14th Annual Baseball Appreciation day at Thunder Park in Trenton.
  • League Executive Director Bill Dressel attended the 2nd Annual Mayors Healthy Cook-off in Woodbridge sponsored by the Mayors Wellness Campaign, which is a collaboration between the League and the Health Care Quality Institute in promoting healthy life styles.
  • League President Tim McDonough chaired the Spring Executive Board meeting at the Marriott Hotel in Trenton

 

 

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