407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481  NJLM logo 
William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

MAYOR'S NEWSLINE

July 2004

Offices: 407 West State St.
Trenton, New Jersey 08618
609-695-3481 Fax 695-0151
E-Mail mdarcy@njslom.com
www.njslom.com
 

IMPORTANT EVENTS - PAST AND FUTURE
And staff contacts for more information
Also consult the calendar
For Seminar details, contact David Harkness ext. 18.

July 4 Independence Day
July 22 League Seminar "Dealing With Stress" at Atlantic City
July 23 League Seminar " Planning and Holding Effective Meetings" at Atlantic City - CANCELLED
Sept. 6 Labor Day
Sept. 8 League Seminar "ABC Update on Liquor License Issues" at Holmdel
Oct. 6 League Seminar "Imaging Records" at Freehold
Oct. 8 League Seminar "Imaging Records" at Cherry Hill
Oct. 14 League Seminar "Labor Relations" at Holmdel

INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Conference Highlights
Mayor Gilmore testifies at Hearing on AR-176
League Past President Passes Away
Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham Dies
Green Acres Program Workshops

FROM THE PRESIDENT
By Jo-Anne Schubert, Mayor, South Bound Brook
Our Hope for the Highlands

Rarely do you see an issue that divides the League membership as much as the recent "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act." Because of this, the League remained neutral on the legislation.

For years, local officials have gone to bat to protect the natural resources of the region, which provides approximately half the drinking water to the citizens of the State. In the Highlands debate, there was much talk of home rule. Proponents cited the failure of home rule. Opponents defended it. We note though that if local officials in the Highlands had the planning tools they needed years ago, like the recently passed TDR legislation, we probably would not be debating how to preserve the Highlands. Home rule could have saved the Highlands a long time ago.

As the legislation moved its way from the Task Force to the Governor's Desk, the League worked with the Administration and sponsors to defend municipal interests. Amendments protecting the land use prerogatives of the "planning area" municipalities were agreed upon in response to objections the League raised. We are confident in saying, whether you supported the Highland bill or not, the League's active involvement made this a better bill. Thanks go, in particular, to DCA Commissioner Susan Bass Levin who also championed the municipal cause.

We will stay involved as the Highlands Council takes its first steps. Let's hope those vital first steps do indeed preserve our vital and scenic resources.

EXECUTIVE BOARD

OFFICERS

JO-ANNE B. SCHUBERT, President;
  Mayor, South Bound Brook
PETER A. CANTU, 1st Vice President
  Mayor, Plainsboro
HERBERT D. STILES, JR., 2nd Vice President
  Mayor, Elmer
DAVID M. DEL VECCHIO, 3rd Vice President
  Mayor, Lambertville

MEMBERS

JAMES ANZALDI
  Mayor, Clifton
WILLIAM W. BAIN, JR.
  Mayor, Deptford
J. CHRISTIAN BOLLWAGE
  Mayor, Elizabeth
JOAN BOAS
  Deputy Mayor, Mount Holly

ROBERT BOWSER
  Mayor, East Orange
THOMAS J. BYRNE III
  Mayor, Spring Lake
LAWRENCE G. CHIARAVALLO
  Mayor, South Belmar
CHUCK CHIARELLO
   Mayor, Buena Vista
DANIEL N. CORANOTO
  Deputy Mayor, Hampton Twp.
SUZANNE C. DAPKINS
   Mayor, Long Hill
JOHN DEAN DERIENZO
   Mayor, Haworth
GENE FEYL
  Mayor, Denville
MALCOLM C. FRASER
  Mayor, Cape May Point
GLEN D. GILMORE
  Mayor, Hamilton Twp. (Mercer)

SHARPE JAMES
  Mayor, Newark (Ex-Officio)
TIMOTHY MCDONOUGH
  Mayor, Hope
GARY PASSANANTE
  Mayor, Somerdale
DOUGLAS M. RAINEAR
   Deputy Mayor, Upper Deerfield
  Twp.
L. HARVEY SMITH
   Acting Mayor, Jersey City
JOSEPH TEMPESTA
  Mayor, West Caldwell
DANIEL VAN PELT
  Mayor, Ocean Twp. (Ocean)
RUDOLPH J. WENZEL, JR.

  Mayor, Washington Twp. (Bergen)

Executive Staff

William G. Dressel, Jr.
  Executive Director
Michael J. Darcy, CAE
  Assistant Executive Director

     

89TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
-Contact www.njslom.org

The League web site has housing and session schedule information available to view and download.

Click on www.njslom.org and go to the link for 89th Annual Conference to get housing forms and a preliminary schedule of topics that will be covered in League sessions. You can also view an early list of exhibitors. Prepare a "must visit" list of vendors.

When scheduling your time at the Annual Conference, don't forget to attend the Consulting Period on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. where you can speak one-on-one with hundreds of consultants and State agency representatives. Also, be sure to schedule the League Business Meeting on Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the Sheraton Hotel.

LEAGUE PAST PRESIDENT PASSES AWAY
-Contact Bill Dressel ext. 22

Former League President and Mayor of Old Tappan, Edward J. Gallagher, passed away on June 3, 2004. He was councilman from 1976 to 1980 and then served four terms as mayor of the borough until 1996, deciding not to seek a fifth term. He also served on the League's Executive Board and as first, second, and third vice president and was the League's President during 1990-91. The late mayor also served as president of the Passaic Valley Mayors Association and was active with many state and local advisory organizations and community groups. His decades of service to the League and Old Tappan will not be forgotten and will be missed.

DISPLAY YOUR LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP PLAQUE
-Contact Sue DeLany ext. 14

Every member municipality receives a League membership plaque for display in your municipal building. The plaque may have been lost, damaged or broken over time. If yours is missing, the League will gladly replace it. The blue and white member plaque shows that you are a member of the oldest and largest organization dedicated to serving the interests of New Jersey's municipal governing bodies. Let your fellow municipal officials and employees know that your town is not alone in the fight for good government. Just send a note to the League office and we will rush a replacement to your municipal building. Let everyone know your municipality is a member of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

MAYOR GILMORE TESTIFIES ON DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS FIRST RESPONDERS GRANT PROGRAM LEGISLATION
-Contact Bill Dressel ext. 22

Mayor Glen Gilmore of Hamilton Township (Mercer), Executive Board member and Deputy Chair of the League's Hometown Security Task force, was invited by the Assembly Federal Relations Committee to testify on legislation impacting funding for the Domestic Preparedness First Responders grant program.

AR-176, urges The President and Congress to restore full funding for the federal offices for Domestic Security Preparedness First Responders grant program. Mayor Gilmore accepted a request to testify from Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Chairman of the committee. He spoke about his experiences in dealing with the severe anthrax incident at a Township post office in 2001 during a hearing held on May 27th in Trenton.

JERSEY CITY MAYOR AND LEAGUE EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER DIES
-Contact Bill Dressel ext. 22

Glenn D. Cunningham, Mayor, Jersey City and League Executive Board member died on May 25, 2004. His extensive public service included: Jersey City police department from 1966 to 1991; election as a Hudson County Freeholder from 1975 to 1978; election to consecutive four year terms on the city council, beginning in 1981. The late mayor had been serving as mayor of Jersey City since 2001 as well as a member of the League Executive Board. His decades of service to Jersey City and the League will not be forgotten and will be missed.

NJDEP GREEN ACRES PROGRAM WORKSHOPS
-Contact Nancee May (609) 984-0570

The League is co-sponsoring a series of Green Acres workshops with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to be held throughout the state from July to October. The workshops are designed to assist municipal officials responsible for planning, acquiring, mapping, and administering lands dedicated to recreation and conservation purposes. The sessions will also provide information on additional funding sources from other state agencies and the importance of identifying environmentally sensitive areas in municipalities. For further details and registration information, contact Nancee May at the above referenced phone number.


Three Parts of FAIR Plan Enacted

On Thursday, April 29, 2004, Governor McGreevey announced some major new property tax relief and reform proposals to a rare joint session of the State Legislature. The following day, he briefed the State's Mayors on these new initiatives, at the League of Municipalities' Mayors' Property Tax Summit. In follow-up meetings with the Administration, we learned that Governor McGreevey would, as part of this "FAIR" property tax relief/reform plan, make $32 million available to municipalities, to cover some increased costs associated with Hometown Security.

This new "FAIR" (Fair And Immediate Relief) plan includes three main components: fair and immediate relief for our hardest hit taxpayers; reforms that aim to limit administrative and bureaucratic spending; and a plan to appoint a panel of experts to craft a Special Property Tax Reform Convention bill, for submission to the voters in 2005. Added to these is a fourth component: the $32 million Hometown Security initiative.

On Thursday, June 17, 2004, committees in both Houses advanced three parts of the plan. Both Houses then passed those bills on Monday, June 21 and on Thursday, June 24. By the time you read this, the Governor may have already signed some, or all, of the bills.

The immediate relief, embodied in A-100/S-1678 would include significant increases in homestead rebates and New Jersey SAVER checks. This would be financed by a 2.6% "Millionaires' Tax" on income in excess of $500,000. This new tax would affect only about 28,500 taxpayers, while the increased relief would benefit almost two million families.

The spending caps, embodied in A-98/S-1702, impose a tighter cap on local budgets. The new spending limitations involve a new 2.5% Cap on municipalities and counties. And, municipalities (and counties) could only go to 3.5%, by ordinance (or resolution), and bank unused cap up to that diminished level. (Other bills, A-99/S-1701, impose caps on school district spending.)

We really wish that State imposed spending limitations were all that it would take to deliver real property tax relief to New Jersey citizens. But not only are such limitations insufficient to effect the achievement of that goal, they are not even necessary. The vast majority of municipal elected officials do not need a Cap to tell them to control property taxes. The voters tell them much more eloquently and much more often. What those officials continue to need is a strong commitment from the State to meaningful relief and lasting reform.

Municipal officials cannot control the price of gasoline. We cannot control insurance costs. We cannot control pension costs. We cannot control the costs of arbitrated police and fire contracts. And none of those costs are capped by this bill. We cannot control the amount of assistance we get from the Transportation Trust Fund or from any other source, apart from the property tax.

With so many new responsibilities since the September 11 attacks, with the rising costs of meeting our traditional responsibilities, and with property tax relief funding for municipal government level for so many years any local budget maker who can keep a lid on property taxes deserves to be called a hero - if not a magician. And any suggestion that a State imposed cap will help that official to deliver the range of essential services that our citizens expect and deserve more efficiently and economically must be based, at best, on wishful thinking.

S-1787/A-97 would establish a Property Tax Relief Study Commission, which would, in turn, determine the form, function and parameters of a special citizens' property tax reform convention.

The provisions in this bill represent an implementation of the position the Governor took in his special address to the Legislature on Thursday, April 29. At that time, the Governor said, "I am asking each of you to bring citizens into the process and trust their judgments about the type of service they want and how much they are willing to pay." He listed the three elements of his FAIR plan, which included "… a plan to involve the citizens of our state in meaningful property tax reform by putting a Constitutional Convention on the November 2005 ballot." He was crystal clear in his comments when he said, "Today I am endorsing and will support a citizens Constitutional Convention on property taxes … A citizens Constitutional Convention to empower the people to take on the special interests and bring about fundamental structural reforms that only a citizen-led effort can achieve."

The only intermediate step that the Governor put between his speech and the Convention was a "Citizens Task Force," which would make "a recommendation to the Legislature on the structure and scope of a convention." This bill takes that step.

Finally, the State's FY 2005 Appropriations Act, as passed by the Legislature on Thursday, June 24, includes the Governor's promised $32 Million "Municipal Homeland Security Assistance Aid." Details on distributions will be forthcoming from the Division of Local Government Services.

We stand ready to assist any who would advance the cause of property tax reform. We see this bill as a step in the right direction.

For questions or for more information, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 21.

NJLM - July Mayor's Newsline
407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481  NJLM logo 
William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

MAYOR'S NEWSLINE

July 2004

Offices: 407 West State St.
Trenton, New Jersey 08618
609-695-3481 Fax 695-0151
E-Mail mdarcy@njslom.com
www.njslom.com
 

IMPORTANT EVENTS - PAST AND FUTURE
And staff contacts for more information
Also consult the calendar
For Seminar details, contact David Harkness ext. 18.

July 4 Independence Day
July 22 League Seminar "Dealing With Stress" at Atlantic City
July 23 League Seminar " Planning and Holding Effective Meetings" at Atlantic City - CANCELLED
Sept. 6 Labor Day
Sept. 8 League Seminar "ABC Update on Liquor License Issues" at Holmdel
Oct. 6 League Seminar "Imaging Records" at Freehold
Oct. 8 League Seminar "Imaging Records" at Cherry Hill
Oct. 14 League Seminar "Labor Relations" at Holmdel

INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Conference Highlights
Mayor Gilmore testifies at Hearing on AR-176
League Past President Passes Away
Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham Dies
Green Acres Program Workshops

FROM THE PRESIDENT
By Jo-Anne Schubert, Mayor, South Bound Brook
Our Hope for the Highlands

Rarely do you see an issue that divides the League membership as much as the recent "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act." Because of this, the League remained neutral on the legislation.

For years, local officials have gone to bat to protect the natural resources of the region, which provides approximately half the drinking water to the citizens of the State. In the Highlands debate, there was much talk of home rule. Proponents cited the failure of home rule. Opponents defended it. We note though that if local officials in the Highlands had the planning tools they needed years ago, like the recently passed TDR legislation, we probably would not be debating how to preserve the Highlands. Home rule could have saved the Highlands a long time ago.

As the legislation moved its way from the Task Force to the Governor's Desk, the League worked with the Administration and sponsors to defend municipal interests. Amendments protecting the land use prerogatives of the "planning area" municipalities were agreed upon in response to objections the League raised. We are confident in saying, whether you supported the Highland bill or not, the League's active involvement made this a better bill. Thanks go, in particular, to DCA Commissioner Susan Bass Levin who also championed the municipal cause.

We will stay involved as the Highlands Council takes its first steps. Let's hope those vital first steps do indeed preserve our vital and scenic resources.

EXECUTIVE BOARD

OFFICERS

JO-ANNE B. SCHUBERT, President;
  Mayor, South Bound Brook
PETER A. CANTU, 1st Vice President
  Mayor, Plainsboro
HERBERT D. STILES, JR., 2nd Vice President
  Mayor, Elmer
DAVID M. DEL VECCHIO, 3rd Vice President
  Mayor, Lambertville

MEMBERS

JAMES ANZALDI
  Mayor, Clifton
WILLIAM W. BAIN, JR.
  Mayor, Deptford
J. CHRISTIAN BOLLWAGE
  Mayor, Elizabeth
JOAN BOAS
  Deputy Mayor, Mount Holly

ROBERT BOWSER
  Mayor, East Orange
THOMAS J. BYRNE III
  Mayor, Spring Lake
LAWRENCE G. CHIARAVALLO
  Mayor, South Belmar
CHUCK CHIARELLO
   Mayor, Buena Vista
DANIEL N. CORANOTO
  Deputy Mayor, Hampton Twp.
SUZANNE C. DAPKINS
   Mayor, Long Hill
JOHN DEAN DERIENZO
   Mayor, Haworth
GENE FEYL
  Mayor, Denville
MALCOLM C. FRASER
  Mayor, Cape May Point
GLEN D. GILMORE
  Mayor, Hamilton Twp. (Mercer)

SHARPE JAMES
  Mayor, Newark (Ex-Officio)
TIMOTHY MCDONOUGH
  Mayor, Hope
GARY PASSANANTE
  Mayor, Somerdale
DOUGLAS M. RAINEAR
   Deputy Mayor, Upper Deerfield
  Twp.
L. HARVEY SMITH
   Acting Mayor, Jersey City
JOSEPH TEMPESTA
  Mayor, West Caldwell
DANIEL VAN PELT
  Mayor, Ocean Twp. (Ocean)
RUDOLPH J. WENZEL, JR.

  Mayor, Washington Twp. (Bergen)

Executive Staff

William G. Dressel, Jr.
  Executive Director
Michael J. Darcy, CAE
  Assistant Executive Director

     

89TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
-Contact www.njslom.org

The League web site has housing and session schedule information available to view and download.

Click on www.njslom.org and go to the link for 89th Annual Conference to get housing forms and a preliminary schedule of topics that will be covered in League sessions. You can also view an early list of exhibitors. Prepare a "must visit" list of vendors.

When scheduling your time at the Annual Conference, don't forget to attend the Consulting Period on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. where you can speak one-on-one with hundreds of consultants and State agency representatives. Also, be sure to schedule the League Business Meeting on Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the Sheraton Hotel.

LEAGUE PAST PRESIDENT PASSES AWAY
-Contact Bill Dressel ext. 22

Former League President and Mayor of Old Tappan, Edward J. Gallagher, passed away on June 3, 2004. He was councilman from 1976 to 1980 and then served four terms as mayor of the borough until 1996, deciding not to seek a fifth term. He also served on the League's Executive Board and as first, second, and third vice president and was the League's President during 1990-91. The late mayor also served as president of the Passaic Valley Mayors Association and was active with many state and local advisory organizations and community groups. His decades of service to the League and Old Tappan will not be forgotten and will be missed.

DISPLAY YOUR LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP PLAQUE
-Contact Sue DeLany ext. 14

Every member municipality receives a League membership plaque for display in your municipal building. The plaque may have been lost, damaged or broken over time. If yours is missing, the League will gladly replace it. The blue and white member plaque shows that you are a member of the oldest and largest organization dedicated to serving the interests of New Jersey's municipal governing bodies. Let your fellow municipal officials and employees know that your town is not alone in the fight for good government. Just send a note to the League office and we will rush a replacement to your municipal building. Let everyone know your municipality is a member of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

MAYOR GILMORE TESTIFIES ON DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS FIRST RESPONDERS GRANT PROGRAM LEGISLATION
-Contact Bill Dressel ext. 22

Mayor Glen Gilmore of Hamilton Township (Mercer), Executive Board member and Deputy Chair of the League's Hometown Security Task force, was invited by the Assembly Federal Relations Committee to testify on legislation impacting funding for the Domestic Preparedness First Responders grant program.

AR-176, urges The President and Congress to restore full funding for the federal offices for Domestic Security Preparedness First Responders grant program. Mayor Gilmore accepted a request to testify from Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Chairman of the committee. He spoke about his experiences in dealing with the severe anthrax incident at a Township post office in 2001 during a hearing held on May 27th in Trenton.

JERSEY CITY MAYOR AND LEAGUE EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER DIES
-Contact Bill Dressel ext. 22

Glenn D. Cunningham, Mayor, Jersey City and League Executive Board member died on May 25, 2004. His extensive public service included: Jersey City police department from 1966 to 1991; election as a Hudson County Freeholder from 1975 to 1978; election to consecutive four year terms on the city council, beginning in 1981. The late mayor had been serving as mayor of Jersey City since 2001 as well as a member of the League Executive Board. His decades of service to Jersey City and the League will not be forgotten and will be missed.

NJDEP GREEN ACRES PROGRAM WORKSHOPS
-Contact Nancee May (609) 984-0570

The League is co-sponsoring a series of Green Acres workshops with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to be held throughout the state from July to October. The workshops are designed to assist municipal officials responsible for planning, acquiring, mapping, and administering lands dedicated to recreation and conservation purposes. The sessions will also provide information on additional funding sources from other state agencies and the importance of identifying environmentally sensitive areas in municipalities. For further details and registration information, contact Nancee May at the above referenced phone number.


Three Parts of FAIR Plan Enacted

On Thursday, April 29, 2004, Governor McGreevey announced some major new property tax relief and reform proposals to a rare joint session of the State Legislature. The following day, he briefed the State's Mayors on these new initiatives, at the League of Municipalities' Mayors' Property Tax Summit. In follow-up meetings with the Administration, we learned that Governor McGreevey would, as part of this "FAIR" property tax relief/reform plan, make $32 million available to municipalities, to cover some increased costs associated with Hometown Security.

This new "FAIR" (Fair And Immediate Relief) plan includes three main components: fair and immediate relief for our hardest hit taxpayers; reforms that aim to limit administrative and bureaucratic spending; and a plan to appoint a panel of experts to craft a Special Property Tax Reform Convention bill, for submission to the voters in 2005. Added to these is a fourth component: the $32 million Hometown Security initiative.

On Thursday, June 17, 2004, committees in both Houses advanced three parts of the plan. Both Houses then passed those bills on Monday, June 21 and on Thursday, June 24. By the time you read this, the Governor may have already signed some, or all, of the bills.

The immediate relief, embodied in A-100/S-1678 would include significant increases in homestead rebates and New Jersey SAVER checks. This would be financed by a 2.6% "Millionaires' Tax" on income in excess of $500,000. This new tax would affect only about 28,500 taxpayers, while the increased relief would benefit almost two million families.

The spending caps, embodied in A-98/S-1702, impose a tighter cap on local budgets. The new spending limitations involve a new 2.5% Cap on municipalities and counties. And, municipalities (and counties) could only go to 3.5%, by ordinance (or resolution), and bank unused cap up to that diminished level. (Other bills, A-99/S-1701, impose caps on school district spending.)

We really wish that State imposed spending limitations were all that it would take to deliver real property tax relief to New Jersey citizens. But not only are such limitations insufficient to effect the achievement of that goal, they are not even necessary. The vast majority of municipal elected officials do not need a Cap to tell them to control property taxes. The voters tell them much more eloquently and much more often. What those officials continue to need is a strong commitment from the State to meaningful relief and lasting reform.

Municipal officials cannot control the price of gasoline. We cannot control insurance costs. We cannot control pension costs. We cannot control the costs of arbitrated police and fire contracts. And none of those costs are capped by this bill. We cannot control the amount of assistance we get from the Transportation Trust Fund or from any other source, apart from the property tax.

With so many new responsibilities since the September 11 attacks, with the rising costs of meeting our traditional responsibilities, and with property tax relief funding for municipal government level for so many years any local budget maker who can keep a lid on property taxes deserves to be called a hero - if not a magician. And any suggestion that a State imposed cap will help that official to deliver the range of essential services that our citizens expect and deserve more efficiently and economically must be based, at best, on wishful thinking.

S-1787/A-97 would establish a Property Tax Relief Study Commission, which would, in turn, determine the form, function and parameters of a special citizens' property tax reform convention.

The provisions in this bill represent an implementation of the position the Governor took in his special address to the Legislature on Thursday, April 29. At that time, the Governor said, "I am asking each of you to bring citizens into the process and trust their judgments about the type of service they want and how much they are willing to pay." He listed the three elements of his FAIR plan, which included "… a plan to involve the citizens of our state in meaningful property tax reform by putting a Constitutional Convention on the November 2005 ballot." He was crystal clear in his comments when he said, "Today I am endorsing and will support a citizens Constitutional Convention on property taxes … A citizens Constitutional Convention to empower the people to take on the special interests and bring about fundamental structural reforms that only a citizen-led effort can achieve."

The only intermediate step that the Governor put between his speech and the Convention was a "Citizens Task Force," which would make "a recommendation to the Legislature on the structure and scope of a convention." This bill takes that step.

Finally, the State's FY 2005 Appropriations Act, as passed by the Legislature on Thursday, June 24, includes the Governor's promised $32 Million "Municipal Homeland Security Assistance Aid." Details on distributions will be forthcoming from the Division of Local Government Services.

We stand ready to assist any who would advance the cause of property tax reform. We see this bill as a step in the right direction.

For questions or for more information, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 21.

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