September 3, 2021
I. State Issues
II. Federal Issues
III.COVID-19 Weekly Update
IV. Also of Interest
Municipal Clerks: Please forward to your Mayor, Governing Body, and Department Heads.
To assist in providing guidance and information we have created a COVID-19 resource page. We will continue to update the page as we get pertinent information and include announcements in our Daily Updates.
a. Tropical Storm IDA Update
As you are no doubt aware, catastrophic, damaging tornado activity, widespread power outages across the state, as well as excessive rainfall and flooding from Tropical Storm Ida has created massive damage and long-term challenges throughout much of the state.
As a result, Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 259 on Wednesday night to implement the state emergency plan and empower members of the cabinet to take necessary actions to protect public health, public safety, and welfare of the public. The EO remains in effect until the Governor rescinds the measure.
Governor Murphy spoke to President Biden and the FEMA Administrator on Thursday. That evening the state sent a federal disaster declaration request, which President Joe Biden approved on Friday morning.
The Governor visited damage-affected areas throughout the state on Thursday and is scheduled to make more stops today. Both Governor Murphy and President Biden have noted that the effects of climate change–the frequency and intensity of these storms–necessitates state and federal investments in resilient infrastructure. As of Friday, Gov. Murphy stated that 25 New Jerseyans had lost their lives due to the storm, and “at least 6” people were missing.
The New Jersey Department of Health Office of Disaster Resilience announced the creation of the Hurricane Preparedness webpage that contains resources. Please visit the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management Flood Resources page and the League’s Emergency & Public Health Resource page that includes contact information for power outages, and resources regarding tornado preparedness, weather reports, an Ida-specific page, and many other related topics.
Governor Murphy also announced a $10 million small business grant program for cleanup costs for small businesses through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). The EDA will reimburse cleanup costs between $1,000 and $5,000 per business. Further details and the application process will be published next week by the EDA.
Contact: Contact: Paul Penna, Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x 110.
b. Division Issues Local Finance Notice on Tropical Storm Ida Response and Recovery
Division of Local Government Services has issued Local Finance Notice 2021-15 on Storm Response & Recovery. The notice addresses emergency appropriations for storm response and recovery; storm recovery reserves; emergency procurement; and overtime pay prohibition for elected officials and managers. For more information, please see our recent blog post.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Assistant Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org , 609-695-3481,x112.
c. PERC Ruling Provides Insight on Vaccination Mandates for Municipal Employees
The Public Employment Relation Commission (PERC) issued an interim relief order this week which could impact any municipality looking to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their union employees. The ruling examined an executive order issued by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka requiring all employees to receive the COVID vaccine or face discipline and possible termination.
The PERC ruling determined that a public employer has a managerial prerogative to mandate full vaccinations against COVID-19 of all municipal employees. However, the enforcement aspects of the mandate, such as discipline, timing, costs, and privacy concerns, were terms of employment that must be negotiated.
While the interim relief order is not precedential and could be overturned later, municipalities should review the order and consider taking actions necessary to ensure any vaccination mandate implemented will comply with PERC’s reasoning.
For an additional resource on this topic, the NJ Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund offers a Bulletin to its members regarding mandatory vaccination of employees and recommends reviewing such policies with your municipal attorney prior to implementation.
You should review this matter with your municipal labor counsel and your business administrator for more information.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Associate General Counsel, email@example.com , 609-695-3481, x137.
d. 2021 Transitional Aid Application Process for State Fiscal Year Municipalities
On August 25, the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) issued Local Finance Notice 2021-14
,which details the application process for fiscal year municipalities applying for the 2022 FY Transitional Aid to Localities (Transitional Aid). The deadline to submit an application to DLGS is October 1, 2021. There are two new additional requirements this year. First, any municipality applying for Transitional Aid must submit a “Notice of Intent to Apply” by September 3, 2021. Second, for any municipality not currently receiving Transitional Aid but will be applying for Transitional Aid the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer must attend a mandatory orientation meeting with the Director to discuss the application process and conditions of the award.
There are two new additional requirements this year. First, any municipality applying for Transitional Aid must submit a “Notice of Intent to Apply” by September 3, 2021. Second, for any municipality not currently receiving Transitional Aid but will be applying for Transitional Aid the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer must attend a mandatory orientation meeting with the Director to discuss the application process and conditions of the award.
We would also like to highlight that:
- Transitional Aid is the only discretionary aid available for FY 2022 municipal budgets and will only be available to FY municipalities that have severe structural difficulties and anticipate difficulties making payments toward nondiscretionary or critical obligations including, but not limited to, debt service, contractual obligations, and payroll.
- An award of Transitional Aid is conditioned on the municipality meet the following requirements:
- Submitting to broad State oversight of hiring, procurement, and other matters;
- Enacting or strengthening comprehensive pay-to-play ordinances, performing reasonable revaluations or reassessments of property as required by law; and,
- Submitting to such additional fiscal control measures as may be directed by the Division.
If you are a State Fiscal Year municipality, please review Local Finance Notice 2021-14 for information on your municipalities’ eligibility for Transitional Aid.
Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org , 609-695-3481, x116
e. While SCOTUS Upends Nationwide Eviction Moratorium, NJ’s Renter Protections Remains Intact
Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned the nationwide moratorium on evictions issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ruling that the federal agency lacked proper authority to issue such a decree. While the Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services decision will have an impact on renters throughout the country, it has no impact on New Jersey’s statewide eviction moratorium for low-income renters, which is set to expire in December.
Renters facing the possibility of eviction can determine whether they are eligible for rental assistance by visiting the State’s COVID-19 Eviction Prevention page. Landlords who have not received rental payments will soon be able to apply for assistance from the State’s Homeowner Assistance Fund.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x137.
a. New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission Meets
On Wednesday, the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission met and held the organizational meeting via Zoom. At the meeting, the commission voted to appoint the Office of Legislative Services as secretary to the commission and adopted bylaws.
The commission is made up of an equal number
of Democratic and Republican appointees and former Supreme Court Associate Justice John Wallace Jr. as the 13th independent member and tie-breaker.
The commission launched a bare-bones website
that will include relevant information in the near future. During the meeting, they announced that they plan to exceed the statutorily required number of three public hearings.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Census announced national reapportionment and New Jersey will continue to send 12 members to the House of Representatives for the coming decade. Population shifts necessitate new district boundaries.
The commission has until January 2022 to adopt a map. We will keep you apprised as this situation evolves.
Paul Penna, Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org
, 609 695-3481, x110.
III. COVID Update
a. COVID-19 Weekly Update
Governor Phil Murphy discussed the ongoing plans for fully vaccinated residents to receive a booster shot and described the difference between a booster shot and a third dose. The Governor noted that the federal extended unemployment benefits will expire on September 4 and that no state is extending the benefit. The Governor also noted that the state needs to make the most of the American Rescue Plan funds and ensure that the funds are appropriated judiciously for the greatest possible long-term recovery.
COVID Data for September 3, 2021:
- 1,671 new positive cases for a total of 957,199 confirmed cases
- 11 new confirmed deaths for a total of 24,198 confirmed deaths
- The rate of transmission is at 1.06
- 11,180,881 vaccine doses have been administered, including 6,163,572 who have received at least one dose and 5,447,760 who are fully vaccinated. 57% are Pfizer, 39% Moderna, and 4% J&J.
The Governor discussed the State’s ongoing plans for fully vaccinated residents to receive their booster shots once the CDC provides their guidance. The Governor noted the terms boosters and third dose are not interchangeable. A booster shot is an additional dose for individuals who are not immune compromised that will allow the immune system to boost up its defenses against the coronavirus. A third dose is a necessary additional dose of the vaccine for individuals with immune system deficiencies to provide the level of protection that those without immune system deficiencies have achieved. New Jerseyans with immune system deficiencies have been eligible to receive that third dose since August 14th.
Booster shots should begin to be available the week of September 20. However, the state is awaiting the final recommendations from the CDC.
As a reminder, the Department of Health is providing access to individuals' COVID vaccination records through NJ Docket, a secure and free smartphone app
that is CDC approved.
Homebound residents who have not yet connected with their local health department, or a home health agency, and who need an in-home vaccination should visit www.covid19.nj.gov/homeboundvax
or contact the call center at 855-568-0545.Contacts:
IV. Also of Interest
a. New Jersey Department of Treasury to Host PERS Webinars
The New Jersey Department of Treasury will be hosting a series of webinars geared towards local government employees on several different topics outlined below. The webinars will detail PERS, PFRS, and TPAF benefits. The webinars will begin on September 8 and conclude on September 22.
Webinar topics, dates, and times:
Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x116.