Speaker: Bill Dressel, Exec. Dir., N.J. League of Municipalities

Bill Dressel brought the mayors up to date on developments in Trenton. He said issues being discussed by lawmakers in the state capital include New Jersey’s property-tax-based school funding system and current COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) law. Major changes could be coming to the latter, he said. More specifically Dressel said the League supports state pension reform as well as reform of the arbitration system. Similarly, the League supports efforts to allow municipalities to opt out of Civil Service regulation by ordinance rather than by referendum.

Meanwhile, the Leage opposes hard municipal budget caps, which — while popular with legislators — can cause hardship for local governments. Dressel also said the league opposes a bill currently on the governor’s desk that would freeze local zoning laws for any development project at the time of its approval. Years can pass and conditions can change between such approvals and actual construction. The League and environmental organizations are urging the governor to veto the measure, and the mayors officially joined them passing a resolution in support of a gubernatorial veto.

On the subject of financial support from Trenton, Dressel was succinct: “We’re going to get cut,” he said.

Resolutions: The mayors approved a resolution declaring April Autism Awareness Month urging everyone to become better educated on the subject of autistic spectrum disorders. The resolution urging a veto of the so-called zoning freeze law will be posted soon.

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