One of the best resources local New Jersey officials have in order to govern effectively is the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
The League has the largest state conference in the nation. The folks at the League ----Bill Dressel, Helen Yeldell and Mike Darcy --- do a heck of a job advocating for all the towns in NJ. They are and have always been a great resource for locally elected officials in NJ. And as a state with this much government [566 municipalities at last count] and a committment to local control, the League is invaluable.
Since we are at the half-way mark in 2007, here for your perusal is the NJSLOM legislative agenda as established back in January.
How is NJ doin’?
LAND USE & AFFORDABLE HOUSING
• Strengthen participatory democracy by safeguarding the institutions, through which people can, cooperatively, shape the future of their own communities.
• Defend the local planning and zoning review process from attack by those who value private profit more than the public’s interest.
• Urge support for initiatives which would encourage those who reap the greatest benefits from new development to, more equitably, share the costs of the infrastructural improvements, which that development necessitates.
• Continue our review of potentially unnecessary and duplicative bureaucratic requirements which inhibit the construction and renovation of sufficient safe and affordable housing for the families of our less-affluent fellow citizens.
PUBLIC HEALTH & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
• Promote policies that will permit communities to achieve and sustain compliance with appropriately high public health and environmental standards.
• Advocate a spirit of cooperation among state and local governments, which emphasizes the solution of problems, rather than the assessment of blame.
• Foster Legislative and citizen awareness of, and respect for, our public health and environmental priorities; and, thereby, increase our communal quality of life, while decreasing the costs, which will accrue in the long run if remediation efforts become necessary.
• Support policies that will permit communities to create flexible solutions to site remediation problems.
• Champion efforts to maintain, for future generations, the natural diversity which draws millions of visitors to our State, and to bequeath to our children a healthier and cleaner environment.
TAXATION & FINANCE
• Evaluate the outcome of the Special Legislative Session
for Property Tax Reform to determine its impact on New Jersey’s over-reliance on property taxes to fund essential public services and programs.
• Determine the need for further reforms, which could be effected by a special citizens’ property tax reform convention.
• Oppose the continued diminishment in property tax relief funding, which would inevitably exacerbate the burden borne by New Jersey’s families and small businesses.
• Oppose further Administration and Legislative Budget proposals that would shift costs from the State to local governments, because of their contributions to the property tax crisis.
• Champion policies that will permit local governments to jointly negotiate and enter into contracts so as to provide, for our citizens, the best possible supplies and services at the lowest possible rates.
• Support fair and reasonable public pension and benefit reforms that appropriately reward current and retired public servants for their service without inappropriately burdening their fellow citizens.
• Promote and participate in discussions among public servants representing their fellow citizens at the local, state and federal level, in order to best meet the challenges and respond to the opportunities emerging from developments in our state’s and nation’s capital.
• Tackle existing mandates by supporting legislative review and repeal or relaxation of unnecessary, unfunded requirements imposed on municipalities in the past, which remain in effect today.
• Review, with the intent to repeal, statutory impediments to greater intergovernmental cooperation.
• Promote the continuing dialogue between and among neighboring municipalities and school districts in order to find creative and cooperative solutions to existing and emerging problems.