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March 17, 2014

Trenton, NJ

 LEAGUE PRESIDENT TO ADDRESS ASSEMBLY BUDGET COMMITTEE

The League of Municipalities’ President, Mayor Suzanne Walters of Stone Harbor Borough, will speak on the Governor’s Budget proposal tomorrow in Trenton. Mayor Walters will address the Assembly Budget Committee, as it begins its 2014 deliberations on the State’s next spending plan.

Focusing on the impact of State actions on local property taxes, the municipal leader notes, “…that Mayors working with local governing bodies over the past six years deserve credit for making the tough decisions in tough times. We have pruned budgets, pursued savings, engaged in tough negotiations, reduced the workforce, shared services, cut spending, applied best practices, emptied reserve accounts and deferred investments. We did this as property values declined, tax appeals increased, development and economic activity stalled, employment slumped and property tax relief funding was diverted to the State budget. “

 The Mayor will highlight the importance of timely action by the Legislature to make permanent the 2% cap on interest arbitration award, which expires on April 1.  “As the first order of business, we call on State policymakers to take action to ensure that the limit on police and fire contract arbitration awards remains in place.   Unless the Legislature acts to extend the April 1 ‘sunset’ of the limitation on arbitrator awards for police and fire personnel salaries, steps and longevity payments to an average of 2 percent annually over the life of a contract, our taxpayers will lose that essential protection.  Any awards in excess of that limit would immediately threaten funding for all other municipal services. And, in the not-too-distant future, such awards could force local budget makers to reduce public safety staffing levels, as fewer local employees steadily take home higher percentages of local funds. “

Mayor Walters will call the Legislature to restore all the property tax relief funding that is due to municipalities, “In recent years, legislators on both sides of the aisle have recognized that the decision to redirect municipal revenues for State use has been a major contributor to increases in local property taxes. We are grateful for the past support that members of this committee have given to this effort. Thanks to your leadership, bills that would gradually begin to rededicate funding for local property tax relief have advanced. Respectfully, we ask that you again consider to at least begin to restore the $331 million, in this budget.”

 

The Mayor will also express support for the proposed increase in Transitional Assistance and the full funding for the Open Space PILOT funding, which provides level relief for towns in 2014.

 

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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director

at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.

 

 

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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.

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