July 12, 2019  

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

I. State Issues

a. Governor Signs Land Banking Legislation

On Wednesday, Governor Murphy signed into law S-1214, which would authorize a municipality to enter into an agreement with a non-profit or a redevelopment entity to serve as the municipality's land banking entity. The League supported this permissive legislation, which expands upon a critical tool for redevelopment.  

Under the new law, a municipality may convey municipally-owned property and assign municipally-owned liens to the land bank entity.  In addition, the bill permits the land bank to acquire property by gift or purchase, and to serve as the municipality’s agent for the purposes of purchasing tax liens, foreclosing on liens, and foreclosing on abandoned property.
The enabling ordinance authorized by the new law may permit the new land bank to: 

  • acquire property on behalf of the municipality;

  • demolish and otherwise clear buildings and conduct other site improvements;

  • maintain and secure property, and

  • lease or convey property.  

Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

b. Governor Freezes Most Transition Aid

Upon signing the FY 2020 State budget, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 73, which impounds up to $235 million in spending, and is not subject to a potential override. Specifically, EO 73 directs the Department of Treasury, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reserve $235 million in discretionary spending. The OMB will monitor and release this funding if sufficient resources and when anticipated savings are realized.  A full list of frozen spending is available.

Among the $235 million is almost $105 million in transitional aid. The Governor’s proposed budget included this nearly $105 million, which was then increased by $10 million by the Legislature.    

For background, Governor Christie took similar action in 2016 following his signing of the State FY 2017 budget. Governor Christie Executive Order 209 held state funds in reserve, including Transition Aid and some transportation funding, and called for agreement on State Health Benefits to be achieved by the “Plan Design Committee.” In that circumstance, the Plan Design Committee took the appropriate action and the funding was eventually released.

Also for background, Transitional Aid is, according to the Office of Legislative Services, (OLS), “…the State’s only discretionary municipal financial assistance program. Transitional aid is awarded to help municipalities in serious fiscal distress meet immediate budgetary needs.” (Emphasis added.)

According to the “Individual Certifications of Municipal State Aid,” which are available on the DCA’s website, the following municipalities received Transitional Aid in Calendar Year 2018/Fiscal Year 2019:

Atlantic City, $3.9 million;
Camden, $22.3 million;
Nutley, $4.1 million;
Paterson, $33 million;
Penns Grove, $0.45 million;
Salem, $1.4 million;
Seaside Heights, $1.19 million;
Trenton, $6 million; and
Union City, $20 million.

These awards total $92.34 million. The current list of municipalities seeking transition aid is not available as this time as the State is in the middle of the application process. 

The League has been in contact with the Administration objecting to this maneuver and seeking guidance. In particular, we are concerned with the impacted municipalities which operate on a calendar year budget, as the budget was likely certified assuming these revenues and we are now just over halfway through the budget year.   

We will advise you of developments.
Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

c. Recap of the July PFRS Board Meeting

At the July 8 Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) board meeting the Board unanimously hired Robert Garrison as in-house legal counsel and appointed existing Division of Pensions staff to various positions needed to run the day-to-day operations of the system. The Board is in the process of reviewing the nine resumes received for the Executive Director position and will begin the interview process shortly. The Board also authorized the solicitation of quotes from firms offering to conduct the search for the Chief Investment Officer.
Corey Amon, Director of Division of Investments, and Susan Sarnowski, Compliance Officer and Director of Operations, provided an update on the transition to the Board. The Division of Investments is in the process of opening separate accounts and subaccounts to facilitate the transition. Their goal is to have all trading funds open when the Board’s regulations are enacted.
The next meeting of the Board is August 12.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x112.

d. Spotted Lanternfly Information

The State Department of Agriculture sent out this advisory this morning.   We forward it to you as an FYI.
The Spotted lanternfly, initially found in Berks County Pennsylvania in 2014, was discovered in the New Jersey environment in July 2018 in Warren County.  Following this discovery, it was also found in Mercer and Hunterdon counties. A Quarantine was initiated to slow the movement and control the further spread of this insect throughout the state. The Department and USDA field crews are out conducting surveys, assessing properties and conducting treatments against this invasive exotic insect in the Quarantine zone. As a result of surveys conducted by state and federal crews the Department is proposing to expand the Quarantine to include Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem and Somerset Counties beginning in August of 2019. Even though entire counties are identified in the Quarantine, the insect does not infest the entire county. This insect does not pose a direct threat to humans or animals but feeds on over 70 trees and plants and can cause significant damage to all sectors of the state’s agricultural industry and the forested environment as well.
Further information about this insect can be found on the Departments web page

II. Federal Issue

a. U.S. Senate Introduces Companion Bill to Overturn FCC Small Cell
    Preemption Order

Recently, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California introduced S.2012 also known as the Restoring Local Control of Public Infrastructure Act of 2019.  S.2012 is a companion bill to H.R. 530 or the Accelerating Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019, which was introduced earlier this year. This legislation would work to roll back the FCC’s 2018 small cell preemption order which ignored the input of hundreds of local governments in favor of large telecommunication giants.
This is an issue that the League, along with our national affiliate, The National League of Cities (“NLC”), has been following closely, and both our organizations support this legislation.  Both the House and the Senate bills currently need more cosponsors. To assist with getting this legislation passed the NLC has created a template letter of support which you can customize to send to your representatives.  The League is strongly urging our members to submit letters of support for this legislation and to make your concerns over the FCC’s order heard. 
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, fmarshall@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x137.

III. League Conference

a. NJLM Annual Conference Exhibit Booth Registration is Open!

Invite your vendors to exhibit at the 2019 NJLM Annual Conference and showcase their product or service to other municipalities. Exhibit space is over 80% sold out so contact your vendors today – or send us a note and we’ll reach out to them!  The 2019 Exhibitor and Sponsorship Prospectus (PDF), Interactive Floor Plan and other exhibit information can be downloaded at www.njlm.org/exhibit.
Contact: Kristin Lawrence, Director of Exhibition and Sponsorships, 609-695-3481 x125 or klawrence@njlm.org.

b. Reserve Your Hotel for the League Conference 

Preparations for the 104th Annual League Conference November 19-21 are underway and the hotel reservations system is open for attendees and exhibitors at the League Conference Web Page. There you will also see a preliminary schedule of conference sessions.

Staying in Atlantic City for the Conference is a great way to get the most from your attendance at the Conference.  Staying over will maximize your time and opportunities to participate in the educational, informational, and networking opportunities offered throughout the Annual League Conference. 

c. Unauthorized Hotel Reservation Services

Every year there are unauthorized firms soliciting housing and hotel reservations from attendees at the Annual League Conference.  We assure you that the only firm authorized to handle our conference housing reservations is AC Central Reservations. This information is on the top of the official conference housing form sent to all municipal clerks and posted on our website.
Using unauthorized reservation services creates real problems for you and the conference as a whole. You cannot be assured your credit card information is secure and your room reservation may not actually be made. Using unauthorized services means your room will not be part of the official conference housing block so you won’t get emergency housing information (which happened in both 2011 and 2012), nor will there be adequate shuttle bus services to your hotel.
As always, the League is available to answer your questions on any aspect of the annual conference and we strive to make your participation both enjoyable and highly productive.
Contact: Michael J. Darcy, CAE, Executive Director, mdarcy@njlm.org, 609-695-3481, x116.

IV. Also of Interest

a. The League is Now Accepting Applications for the Innovation in
     Governance Program!

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the New Jersey League of Municipalities will again acknowledge and promote Innovation in Governance through our annual recognition program. This is a great opportunity to showcase innovative solutions to any problems that have cropped up – either suddenly or over time – in your municipality. It can also be an opportunity to let your peers in on innovations that prevented problems from even arising.
Visit our awards page to see previous years of impressive ideas created by our winning municipalities as well as the full invitation and application to this year’s program.
Contact: Ciara Bradley, Legislative Administrator, CBradley@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x128.

b. New 2019 Edition! Salary Report of Municipal Positions Available Now

The latest edition of the New Jersey Municipal Salary Report is now available, including salaries for over 40 municipal positions. This is a digital report that includes data for 244 municipalities in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. The data was gathered from a recent survey conducted by the League. View the full list of positions and municipalities included in this report on the League’s website. 
The cost to purchase is $90 for members and $180 for non-members. After ordering, the report will be emailed to the address provided on the order form. Visit the League’s Publication web page to order.
Contact: Suzanne Allen, sallen@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x129.

c. Mayors Wellness Campaign Offers New Tool

The newest addition to the MWC Toolkit is: Integrating Residents with Disabilities into Your MWC Programs. This brand-new tool includes resources, strategies, and tips for communities to use to make their community health and wellness events more accessible to all residents within their community.

For more information on how to use this tool or on any of their other MWC tools, visit MWC Toolkit or contact the MWC at info@njhcqi.org.

d. Follow the League to Stay Current of Upcoming Events, Annual
    Conference Deadlines & Legislation Affecting Your Municipality

Did you know that the League is on Facebook and Twitter? Follow NJLM to stay current of upcoming League seminars, Annual Conference reminders, and new blog posts.
Looking for an easy way to keep up with the new programs that other municipalities are implementing? NJLM often shares news articles on its Facebook feed related to what municipalities are doing in New Jersey. Follow NJLM on Facebook @NJLeague or follow on Twitter @NJ_League.
Stay up to date on legislation affecting your municipality – NJLM’s blog, the Town Crier, provides an in-depth assessment on proposed and enacted legislation, and how bills effect local government. Visit NJLM’s blog for a look at recent posts on the Path to Progress’ Pension Hybrid Plan, recently introduced legislation that will clarify telecommunications industry corporate tax responsibilities, and how the 2020 bill will benefit infrastructure.

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