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April 18, 2019   

I.   State Issues
II.  Federal Issue
III. League Conference
IV. Also of Interest
Municipal Clerks:  Please forward to Mayor, Governing Body and Department Heads. 

I. State Issues

a. 2020 Census and Employment Opportunities – New Jersey Removing

We are now within 12 months of 2020 Census Day – April 1, 2020. The U.S Census Bureau has been staffing up for the count that will determine New Jersey’s representation in Congress, Congressional and State Legislative District boundaries, and the amount of federal formula funding that will be made available to the Garden State and to every community within it. What happens during the census will determine representation and resource allocations for your municipality for the next ten years.
An undercount will cost the citizens of your municipality, and of our State, equitable representation and their fair share. If you have not yet started to plan for the census, we encourage you to see the Bureau’s One Year Out report and its 2020 Operational Plan for good overviews of what will be done and what you can do to make this Constitutionally required count a success. Then find out how You Can Partner with the Bureau.
The census also creates an opportunity for temporary employment that can provide extra income to unemployed, under-employed, and self-employed individuals, as well as students and retirees in your community. You can share this information and direct interested parties to the Bureau’s 2020 Census Jobs site.
We have also learned that the New Jersey Division of Family Development (the Division), in the Department of Human Services, has secured waivers from the Federal government that will eliminate one potential roadblock for census job seekers. Under the waivers, temporary employment for the 2020 Census will not impair eligibility for any cash public assistance benefits. So TANF and GA benefits will not be reduced or lost, due to Census Bureau employment.
The Division is also exploring the possibility of protecting SNAP benefits, at this time. We will keep you posted on that, and on other 2020 Census opportunities.
You might also want to keep an eye on the League’s Census 2020 resource page.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x121.

b. Tax Court Ruling Prohibits Tax Assessors from Acting as Appraisal

While municipal tax assessors are already prohibited through regulations from appearing as expert witnesses before county boards of taxation (see, N.J.A.C. 18:12A-1.9(l)), this prohibition had never before been applied to the tax court. 
Last week, however, the State Tax Court ruled in a published tax court decision that the prohibition of municipal tax assessors appearing as expert witnesses should be extended to the tax court as well. The court reasoned that as impartial judges of property values, tax assessors should take great care to avoid shaking the public’s confidence in the integrity of municipal assessors. Using the current prohibition at the county tax board level, the Local Government Ethics Law and other guidance as a backdrop, the court found that any appearance by a municipal assessor at the tax court, challenging the assessment of another, undermines the integrity of the assessor’s office. 
You should share this information with your municipal assessor and review the opinion with your municipal attorney for further guidance.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney,, 609-695-3481 x 137.

c. Public Comment Period Extended for DEP Proposal to Expand C1
    Waterway Designation

Last month the DEP proposed amendments to the Surface Water Quality Standards (SWGS) that would upgrade 749 miles of waterways to Category 1 (C1) antidegradation status. Comments on the proposed changes were scheduled to be submitted on or before May 3, 2019 but because of requests from the League and other stakeholders, the DEP has agreed to extend the public comment period until June 3, 2019.
Waterways with the C1 designation require additional oversight, including heightened wastewater discharge standards and a 300-foot development buffer. The DEP proposal included waterways that run through 67 municipalities across the state.To  see if one of the waterways runs through your municipality please see the DEP rule proposal.
The League is working with our members as well as stakeholders to review the proposal in order to provide appropriate comments on the municipal impact of the proposed expansion of C1 waterways.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney,, 609-695-3481 x 137.

d.  2019 Financial Disclosure Statements Guidance Issued

The Division of Local Government Services has issued guidance on the filing of the 2019 Financial Disclosure Statements.  Local Finance Notice 2019-05 outlines the on-line filing procedures for filing the statutorily required annual Financial Disclosure Statements.  The deadline to file the Financial Disclosure Statements (FDS) is on or before April 30th. After April 30, any new local government officers will have 30 days from taking office to file their FDS.
Please note that the Local Finance Board may periodically conduct audits for compliance and initiate investigations. Local Government Officer can be assessed an appropriate fine that is not less than $100 nor more than $500 pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.10. In addition, for elected officials, the failure to file a FDS can subject the municipality to a loss of State Aid as it is a question on the “Best Practices” Questionnaire.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x112.

e. DLGS Budget Examination Delays

Yesterday, the Division of Local Government Services notified Chief Financial Officers that due to the number of public hearings on municipal budgets scheduled for overlapping dates next week the Division may not be able to complete their budget examination of certain municipal budgets by the scheduled public hearing date.
If your budget is scheduled for Division examination and they are unable to complete your municipal budget examination prior to your scheduled and advertised public hearing date the public hearing must occur.  However, no action may be taken on your budget until the Division has completed their examination.  If your budget is before the Division for examination we suggest you review the notice with your Chief Financial Officer.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x112.

f. Municipal Position on Governor’s FY 2020 Budget Proposal

The League has sent a formal letter, spelling out our position on Governor Murphy’s proposed budget, to the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly budget committees. Copies of the letter were also sent to all Committee members. While noting areas of agreement, the letter highlights our continued opposition to the underfunding of general municipal property tax relief funding, which has yet to approach pre-2008 recession levels. You can read the full letter on our Town Crier blog.

  • Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x121
  • Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director,, 609-695-3481 x120.

II. Federal Issue

a. Administration Issues Opportunity Zone Rules

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service released regulations on Wednesday that could help investors in local projects from the 2017 Opportunity Zone tax incentive meant to encourage investment in struggling communities.
Backers of the program had feared that the regulations might encourage more investment in real estate development, rather than directing dollars toward start-up businesses that are more likely to generate employment opportunities.
The rules released on Wednesday appeared to ease many of those fears. But critics said the administration had not done enough to make sure that the program achieved its goals.
Under the newly released regulations, investors can take advantage of the tax breaks in several ways. According to the New York Times, “The new methods are particularly important for investors who hope to fund new coffee shops, grocery stores or possibly, as administration officials conceded on Wednesday, marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized the drug.”
We hope to be able to provide you with a better analysis of these regulations next week.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x121.

III. League Conference Follow Up

a. Do Not Forget to Claim Your CEUs from the 2018 NJLM Annual

Attention Municipal Officials! Do Not Forget to Claim Your CEUs from the 2018 NJLM Annual Conference! Please go to our website to claim your credits. 

IV. Also of Interest

a. Mayors Roundtable Events on Cannabis and Affordable Housing –
    Elected and Professionals Too!

The League is proud to present Mayors’ Roundtable discussions on the topics of Affordable Housing and Cannabis. These topics will be the focus of moderated discussions involving your questions, presentations by helpful experts, and status review of legislation. The final date and location is noted below. The moderated discussions and presentations will focus on your concerns so send us your specific questions in advance to Danielle Holland-Htut, Continuing Education/ Special Programs Manager, with the subject line “Mayors’ Roundtable Question”
· Cannabis: The League has not taken a position on legalization but has done significant research on municipal experiences in other states. See what other states’ facilities look like and learn how other communities have been impacted by this new industry. Get your questions answered and take important information back to your residents and governing body. Gain an understanding of how other municipalities are planning to address this new industry and how the State plans to regulate it.
· Affordable Housing: No two communities’ solutions to housing needs are the same. Learn from the variety of approaches that have been implemented. Understand the current situation in various parts of the state and learn where legislative efforts may be focused.
The third, and final, event will run 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Monday, April 29.
For information on this event and to register, click on the date below:
Monday, April 29, 2019, Princeton Marriott at Forrestal, 100 College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08540

b. Register Now! The One Day Mini Conference

Friday, June 14, 2019
7:30 a.m .- 5:00 p.m.
Conference Center at Mercer
1200 Old Trenton Road
West Windsor, NJ 08550

For more information on the Mini Conference including Registration and Credit Details please visit the Mini Conference Website.

c. Let your Vendors know about NJ Municipalities Magazine!

Do you work with vendors that you would recommend to other municipalities? Let these vendors know about the League’s magazine; placing advertisements in the magazine helps to increase the reach of their marketing message and supports the League as an organization in the process.

Contact: Taran Samhammer at with your vendor’s mailing address and we will send them a sample issue!

d. League Publications: Read All About It

The League offers a wide variety of publications to provide extra insights on the hot topics in local government, from Newly Elected guidebooks to the latest editions on OPMA, License Fees, Salaries, and Local Public Contracts. For more information on the full publication list or to order volumes for your reference, see the Publication Order Form.

e. NLC Resource: Starting a Youth Council

Youth councils or youth advisory boards can provide an effective way to engage youth in city government. This guide offers the basics for forming a youth council in your city, as well as examples of the way different cities have configured their councils.

f. Registration Now Open for the 2019 New Jersey Sustainability Summit

Friday, June 14th at Bell Works, Holmdel, NJ

The New Jersey Sustainability Summit is an exceptional one-day forum, annually drawing more than 350 change-makers from across the political, private and public sectors. Participants will engage in thoughtful discussions, share best practices, hail the work that is currently being done in sustainability across the state, and identify areas for future regional collaboration. This year’s Summit will be bigger and better than ever to celebrate Sustainable Jersey’s 10th Anniversary! Register and learn more.


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