Whether a municipality has a population of 300 or 300,000, it has a major stake in the legislative deliberations in Trenton. Every bill pending before the Legislature that might affect localities is evaluated by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities’ 100-member Legislative Committee, and is aggressively opposed or supported by the League's lobbying team in concert with local officials around the state.

In a recent session from the NJMMA Fall Conference, Lori Buckelew, Asst. Exec. Director/Director of Gov’t Affairs and Frank Marshall, Associate Counsel, both from the New Jersey League of Municipalities (NJLOM) gave an update on legislation and emerging issues from Trenton.

Most notable among some of these updates were the recent implementation of law S-1368, requiring all business owners and owners of multifamily rental units to maintain certain levels of liability insurance. In addition, the new law requires that all business owners and owners of multifamily rental units file a certificate of insurance with the municipality where the business or rental unit is located. This must be done on an annual basis.

Buckelew went on to mention a number of concerns about enabling residents to skip paying their taxes. In New Jersey, unpaid taxes above $1,500 accrue interest at a rate of 18% per year, though municipalities and bidders can reduce that rate. Because the interest on tax liens are paid to certificate holders and not local governments, cutting the interest rate would not directly impact municipal collections, though it may have impact when residents pay their tax bills. A lower interest rate could make it more difficult for municipalities to collect outstanding revenues, as residents might prioritize paying down other, higher-interest debt.

“Just think about it: If your credit card is at a 24% interest rate and your property tax bill is at a 5% interest rate, which bill are you going to pay first?” said Buckelew.

Further questions about policy can be directed to Lori Buckelew, Deputy Executive Director & Director of Government Affairs, at lbuckelew@njlm.org or via phone 609-695-3481, x112. Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, can be reached at fmarshall@njlm.org or via phone at 609-695-3481, x137.