On Aug. 20, 2019, The Division of Local Government Services (DLGS, or the Division) consulted with the League, the Managers Association and the Finance Officers, regarding the soon-to-be released 2019 Best Practices Inventory (BPI, or the Inventory). As has become customary, provisions in the State’s Annual Budget direct DLGS to prepare a BPI, and to grade each municipality (but not each county) on their performance. Budget language also directs DLGS to withhold certain municipal property tax relief funding from any municipality that fails to achieve an adequate score.
From the beginning, DLGS has viewed this requirement, not as an opportunity to further reduce municipal property tax relief funding, but as an opportunity to help municipalities make positive changes, where needed, in the ways that they conduct the public’s business. This year, as was the case last year, the Division will also use the Inventory to identify some areas where municipalities might need further assistance from the State.
This year, the Division will make the Inventory available on a user-friendly digital platform. Details will be the subject of a future Local Finance Notice. Training and assistance will be provided to your local CFOs, Managers/Administrators, and municipal clerks, and contact with Division personnel will be available, both on-line and over the phone.
Questions will be classified as ‘Core Competency,’ ‘Best Practice,’ and ‘Unscored Survey.’ The Division intends to use the latter group of questions to identify local concerns that might merit State assistance. Positive (or N/A) answers to Core Competency questions will carry a full point. Affirmative (or N/A) answers on Best Practices will earn, in most if not all cases, a half point. The Inventory will include about 30 new scored questions. Each of these can be answered prospectively.
The Division hopes to release the BPI soon after Labor Day, for completion by the end of October. And, as in the past, the Inventory will need to on the agenda and discussed at a public meeting of the Governing Body.
We want to thank DLGS, under the leadership of Director Melanie Walter and Deputy Director Kevin Heydel, for the manner in which it has dealt with this requirement and for the courtesy and professionalism of the staff, especially that of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Officer Jason Martucci.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x121.