The proposed New Jersey FY 2024 budget allocates $1.152 billion to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), reflecting a reduction of 19.6% or $280 million from the adjusted appropriation of $1.432 billion in FY 2023. These figures are based on the Governor’s proposal, and may change based on public testimony, changes by the Legislature, and discussions with the Administration before its enactment by the end of June.
In total, the FY 2024 budget proposes an allocation of approximately $1.6 billion in funding to New Jersey’s 564 municipalities, with the DCA receiving $790.2 million of the that figure. The Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid (CMPTRA) accounts for $649.3 million of that amount, which will supplement the municipal aid provided by the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Aid (ETR) appropriation of $798.4 million from the Department of the Treasury. Collectively CMPTRA and ETR are slated to provide more than $1.4 billion in municipal aid.
The Transitional Aid to Localities program is allocated $111.9 million, granted through a competitive application process. It requires municipalities to implement cost controls and reforms to lessen their dependence on this aid in the future while being subjected to increased State oversight.
The DCA will continue to receive funding from various federal programs aimed at supporting affordable housing and community development initiatives. This includes funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for programs such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program budgeted at $140 million. The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program will receive $31.5 million, a decrease of $254 million. This 90% funding cut is due to reductions on the federal level. The National Housing Trust fund is allocated $8.5 million, a $30 million (71%) increase from FY 2023. This federal funding will also provide support for low-income households and communities affected by natural disasters. In total, the DCA is estimated to receive $269.9 million in federal funds for the FY 2024.
The proposed FY 2024 NJ Budget includes funding for 23 not-for-profit organizations and local governments for social services programs. (For a full listing of the programs, see Table A on page 23). The total allocations for these new grant-in-aid projects are $7.45 million. There are also 34 one-time grant programs to repair or improve local infrastructure totaling $44.5 million in allocations for FY 2024. (For a full listing of the improvements, see Table B on page 24)
The Division of Codes & Standards, which is responsible for inspecting, registering, and issuing certificates of registration and occupancy for hotels, motels, and multiple dwellings, is allocated $9.8 million.
The Division of Housing & Community Resources is allocated $168 million In the FY 2024 budget. The Division of Housing & Community Resources provides several programs and assistance in the affordable housing sector. They regulate limited dividend and nonprofit housing agencies and assist established housing authorities and redevelopment agencies. They also administer a federal and state-sponsored housing assistance HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The Prevention of Homelessness program assist the homeless by providing emergency accommodation, rental assistance, and interest rate subsidies to low- and moderate-income families for affordable housing. The Shelter Assistance program provides assistance for the construction of emergency shelters and services for the homeless residents of the state. The Neighborhood Preservation Program support the revitalization of threatened but viable neighborhoods.
The Main Street New Jersey program helps revitalize downtown streets to recover economic vitality. The Office of Homelessness Prevention creates a thorough unification of policies to prevent homelessness and expand access to the continuum of housing options. Additionally, Housing Services administers several grants and assistance programs like the National Housing Trust Fund, Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credits, Access to Counsel, Supportive Housing Connection, Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Solutions Grant, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Weatherization Assistance Program.
Demolition Bond Loan Program
The FY 2024 Budget allocates $13 million in funds for the DCA’s Demolition Bond Loan Program, which provides funding for the demolition and disposal of unsafe buildings in urban and rural centers.
Community Development Block Grants
The FY 2024 Budget does not count on any federal funding to support the Division of Disaster Recovery and Mitigation (NJDDRM). New Jersey received $230 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding in FY 2023 to aid in addressing damages and displacement caused by Tropical Storm Ida. Federal funding for the NJDDRM centers around disaster response and recovery activities.
Lead Based Paint Control
The New Jersey Lead Safe Remediation Program is budgeted $4.8 million. The program was designed to protect children and families from lead exposure in their homes by providing lead remediation services to property owners and tenants in low and moderate-income households. It provides funding for testing, cleaning, and eliminating lead hazards in homes, as well as education and outreach to raise awareness about the dangers of lead exposure.
Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds
The proposed FY 2024 budget includes allocations from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund (CSFRF). The funds will be used as follows:
- $420 million for New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA)
- $200 million for grants to local governments to mitigate rising employee healthcare benefits costs.
- $100 million to establish a new Boardwalk Fund that provides matching funds to counties and municipalities along the shore for boardwalk maintenance and enhancement
- $100 million for the Affordable Housing Production Fund to create urban workforce housing in cities and preserve housing affordability.
- $10 million for additional firefighter safety grants, and$10 million for the Historic Trust Fund.
Local Assistance Bureau
The Local Assistance Bureau (LAB) is allocated $200 million in FY 2024, flat funding from FY 2023.
Under the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS), LAB is responsible for regulating the finances of local governments. Its primary aim is to ensure fiscal solvency, regulate local procurement, license certain municipal employees, and provide strong oversight of distressed municipalities.
Division of Fire Safety and RIMS Program
The FY 2024 Budget language designates $18.1 million for fire safety fees, indicating a 2.3% increase compared to the previous year.
DCA is implementing a new system to replace the Registration Inspection Management System (RIMS), that allows the Division to distribute all inspection and building information to local fire services and business owners. It provides real-time information on buildings that the Division inspects to emergency responders, while fire protection contractors can easily upload test reports to building files. The new system will offer property owners access to data on their properties, and business owners can communicate with the Division to obtain permits, pay bills, register businesses, and perform other tasks.
The FY 2024 Budget has allocated $7.5 million, a decrease of 25% from the FY 2023 Budget allocation of $10 million. These funds support the Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) that provides financial assistance to local governments to identify, study, and implement shared service initiatives.
About the DCA
The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has a broad organizational purpose that aims to help communities in New Jersey to be safe, healthy, economically viable, and attractive to residents and visitors. The DCA provides resources and assistance to local officials, nonprofit community organizations, businesses, and individuals. It delivers guidance, financial support, technical assistance, and other services to address issues related to fire and building safety, housing assistance, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.
The DCA is divided into five operating divisions including Local Government Services, Fire Safety, Housing and Community Resources, Codes and Standards, and Disaster Recovery and Mitigation. DCA is also divided into two offices, and it includes affiliate agencies such as the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Government Records Council, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, and the Urban Enterprise Zone Authority. These authorities do not rely on direct funding from the State Treasury.
Within DCA is the Division of Local Government Services. The Division is the regulatory agency that is responsible for overseeing municipal budgeting, fiscal affairs, procurement, shared services, professional certifications, authorities, joint services, and management issues.
Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x116.