July 18, 2011
LEAGUE APPLAUDS RESTORATION OF TRANSITIONAL AID FUNDING
The League of Municipalities applauds Governor Christie’s decision to restore $139 million to the Transitional Aid program. This program is meant to help municipalities deal with extraordinary difficulties. Throughout the appropriations process, the Administration proposed a $149 million appropriation for this purpose. That level of funding was a part of the Governor’s original budget proposal. It was, however, reduced, at the last minute, to $10 million.
Transitional Aid funds are only available to municipalities anticipating difficulties making payments toward nondiscretionary or critical obligations including, but not limited to, debt service, contractual obligations, and public safety payroll. And it is only available where local officials have “implemented substantive cost reduction strategies.” In addition, municipalities receiving Transitional Aid are required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Division of Local Government Services, acknowledging state controls and committing to compliance therewith.
Today, the Governor offered draft legislation that would create a permanent Transitional Aid statute. That statute would assure funding for program administration by the Department of Community Affairs. Governor Christie also announced his support for a supplemental appropriation to provide $149 million for the program in the State’s current Fiscal Year.
“Following the line item veto, we had asked the Governor and Legislature to work together towards a supplemental appropriation to help some of the most fiscally stressed municipalities through these trying times,” said the League’s Executive Director Bill Dressel. “With municipal budgets hanging in the balance, fast action is needed to resolve this matter. Otherwise massive municipal program and personnel cut-backs could deny our fellow citizens access to vital life-sustaining and life-enhancing services.”
“The State Senate has already demonstrated its commitment to the program. And Assembly leaders have articulated their support. We thank them for their advocacy. And we thank Governor Christie for today’s announcement.”
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.