November 28, 2011
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES URGES ACTION ON NORCROSS/SARLO TRANSITIONAL AID BILL
The League of Municipalities urges both the Senate and the Assembly to pass S-3118, a bill that would restore $139 million to the Transitional Aid to Localities Program for distribution to towns in dire budgetary need. This legislation, sponsored by Senators Norcross and Sarlo, needs to be passed as soon as possible.
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.
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.
By line item veto of the Appropriations Act in June, Governor Christie removed $139 million from this program, reducing the total appropriation to $10 million. On July 18, however, the Governor announced his support for a supplemental appropriation to provide the full $149 million for the program in the State’s current Fiscal Year, provided State administrative expenses were covered and appropriate safeguards, regarding the use of these funds, were guaranteed.
We applaud S-3118, which advances Governor Christie’s decision to restore $139 million to the Transitional Aid program. And we salute Senators Norcross and Sarlo.
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..
The State Senate has already demonstrated its commitment to the program. And Assembly leaders have articulated their support. We thank them for their advocacy.
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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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