November 10, 2017
Mayors Look for Solutions on Property Taxes
102nd Annual Conference of the League of Municipalities
November 14th-16th, Atlantic City Convention Center
18,000 municipal officials, exhibitors, program participants, and guests are expected to attend the largest annual gathering of municipal officials in the country. The 102nd Annual League of Municipalities Conference will be held at the Atlantic City Convention Center from Tuesday, November 14, through Thursday, November 16.
A full conference program of over 100 educational sessions scheduled for the three-day event is available at http://www.njslom.org/2017conf/schedule.html or you can download the free NJLM Conference App at your device’s App Store to download.
Governor-elect Phil Murphy is confirmed as the keynote for the Delegates Luncheon on Thursday, November 16.
League President Albert Kelly, Mayor of Bridgeton, noted that the League Conference provides a platform and an opportunity for municipalities,
“The League Conference offers great educational opportunities for elected and appointed officials, but also provides local elected leaders the opportunity to meet and network with their peers from across the state. Since our legislative leaders will also be speaking, it allows local leaders the opportunity to make their cases for property tax relief.”
The gathering is a launch pad to discuss the issues impacting municipalities, including local, state, and national concerns. New Jersey’s taxpayers identify property taxes as their number-one concern, one shared by New Jersey’s mayors, based on the preliminary results of a Mayors’ Policy survey being conducted by the League.
Mayors identified their top policy priorities as property taxes, school funding, the extension of the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards, affordable housing, pension and health funding, and the restoration of the energy tax receipts funding to municipalities.
Additionally, 87% of the responding mayors indicate that they support the permanent extension of the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards, which is set to expire at the end of the year.
Further, 67% of the responding Mayors expressed support for a citizens’ convention to address property taxes.
The survey process will continue through the end of the year. During the course of the week, there will be educational sessions on many of the issues identified by the responding Mayors.
League Executive Director Michael J. Darcy added,
“These preliminary survey results demonstrate what we already knew anecdotally. Local leaders are seeking tools to help further control property taxes. The Legislature must recognize that municipalities operate under a separate 2% cap on annual spending that does not expire; and that local officials work hard every day to control costs and make tough decisions to ensure services remain at a level their community expects. The 2% cap on interest arbitration must be extended because all the evidence demonstrates clearly that it resulted in a curtailing of property tax increases.”
League First Vice President James Cassella, Mayor of East Rutherford, who is anticipated to assume the Presidency of the League at the conclusion of the Conference, said:
“In the upcoming year, the League will actively engage the Legislature and the new Administration on solutions to address property taxes. First, we call on the Legislature to put our taxpayers and working families first and extend the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards before the December 31 deadline. From there, the Legislature needs to address other cost drivers for local governments, such as continuing the progress made on school funding this past year, making sure there are protections for taxpayers in any contemplated changes in pension and health benefits and finally restoring the statutorily required energy tax receipts funding to local governments.”
Members of the media registering on-site at the Annual Conference should present their credentials at the “On-Site Registration Booth” in the Atlantic City Convention Center. The League’s public information liaison person will be Lori Buckelew, available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Conference she can be paged from the registration counter or the League Information Booth across from the registration counter.
- Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director & Director of Government Affairs, email@example.com, 609-532-2494.