May 14, 2013
League Responds to Court Injunction Staying Seizure of Affordable Housing Trusts
The Appellate Division issued an injunction late yesterday, which stayed the State’s attempted seizure of potentially up to $164 million dollars in municipal affordable housing trust funds.
Effectively, the Court blocked the actions of the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) at their May 1 meeting. On the date, the Council met for the first time in over two years to authorize the attempted seizure of the municipal affordable housing trust funds. The Court’s action comes in response to action brought by the Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) on Friday. In that action, FSHC argued that the agency failed to comply with its own existing regulations. The Court order prohibits the State from moving forward on taking the trusts until the Appellate Panel convenes for oral argument on the matter on June 5 in Newark.
The affordable housing trusts are collected by municipalities from developer fees to subsidize the construction of affordable housing, assisting municipalities in meeting their mandated housing obligations and providing a revenue source that is not dependent on the property tax. If the State were successful in seizing these local trusts, municipalities would be forced to comply with these obligations by depending on other revenues sources, including the property tax.
East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov, President of the League of Municipalities, offered the following comments: “We welcome and appreciate the Court’s prompt action. The State’s attempted efforts to take municipal trust funds lacks any fairness or logic, coming after the lack of State regulations to guide municipal spending and COAH’s failure to meet for well over two years.
Mayor Mironov continued, “At the end of the day, if the Administration is successful in seizing these municipal dollars, then local property taxpayers are going be on the hook to pay for State mandated costs. This amounts to nothing more than a brazen raid on municipal dollars to plug holes in the State budget and a real slap at local property taxpayers.”
"No reasonable person could find this lack of process and state money grab acceptable," stated Mayor Mironov.
The Hon. Janice S. Mironov, President of League Municipalities,
Mayor, East Windsor Township
(609) 443-4000 x252