MAYORS UNITE TO FIGHT UNFUNDED MANDATE AND SUPPORT PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FOR ALL
Battling against State Budget policies that will force property tax increases in towns throughout rural New Jersey, the League of Municipalities hosted a summit meeting to discuss the problem and all possible solutions. Over 100 local elected officials and leading legislative property tax relief advocates gathered at The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township on Thursday, September 4.
At that time, concerned municipal officials were briefed on our efforts to prevent the State from forcing communities throughout rural New Jersey to raise property taxes, in order to finance certain State Police activities. League President, Mayor Bob Bowser of East Orange welcomed the attendees. League First Vice President Tim McDonough, Mayor of Hope Township, then detailed the League’s long and frustrating effort to work with two different Administrations to find State Police funding from sources other than the property tax. State Senator Jeff VanDrew and Assembly members Marcia Karrow and Nelson Albano explained their efforts to earmark non-property tax revenues for the State Police, and to provide new relief to property taxpayers in urban and suburban, as well as rural towns. Senator Steven Oroho and Assemblymen Gary Chiusano and Doug Fisher shared their concerns. League General Counsel Bill Kearns, Esq., discussed the Council on Local Mandates challenge. And Mayor Chuck Chiarello of Buena Vista led local officials in a discussion of the impact of this new mandate on property taxpayers, living in municipalities from Sussex to Cape May Counties.
The gathering directed the League to ask Governor Corzine to delay the implementation of a key provision of Chapter 35, P.L. 2008, which requires 89 municipalities to decide, by December 15 of this year, whether they choose to establish a new police department, contract with another entity for police services or pay, into the State Treasury, an amount unilaterally determined by the State Treasurer. If they fail to notify the Treasurer of their choice by that date, or if the choice they make is rejected by the Attorney General, they will be treated as if they had chosen to pay the Treasurer’s assessment. If they fail to remit the amount arbitrarily set by the Treasurer, they will face the reduction or elimination of their 2009 revenue replacement and property tax relief funding. We have also asked the Governor for a meeting, so that we can explain the problems that have been created by this unfunded mandate.