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Opportunity for citizens to help their town cut costs

New Jersey Hyperlocal News Association

Last week Governor Christie and the Department of Community Affairs released a "Best Practices Checklist" for municipalities receiving state aid. If your community wants to receive 100% of its state funding, the municipality will need to comply with 41 out of 50 of the items on the checklist. If your municipality fails to meet the established threshold, they will lose up to 5% of their state aid.


Last year the checklist was optional for municipalities. Starting last October DCA started requiring municipalities receiving transitional aid to adopt a series of waste-cutting measures, like pay to play reform. 


This is the first year that DCA is tying the final amount of state aid to the number of waste-cutting measures a town is adopting.


Municipalities have been given a 50 item checklist sorted into 8 areas: general management, financial standards, budget preparation & presentation, health insurance, personnel, public safety, energy, and municipal & school district cost-sharing.


In these tough budget times, every penny counts - which is why it is important for citizens to be participating in the process and make sure your town is doing everything it can to get all its money.


Some of the proposals your town should be looking into:

-          Pay to Play Reform Ordinance

-          Posting Budget information online

-          Cost-Sharing Agreements between the municipality and school district

-          Energy Audits

-          Salary Sunshine online


Citizens should review the "Best Practice Checklist" and attend your next municipal council meeting to make propose checklist items that will ensure your towns gets 100% of state aid.

Municipalities on a calendar year budget have until September 1, 2011 to complete a work sheet; municipalities on a fiscal year budget have until April 1, 2012.


Citizen Resources:

-    2011 Best Practice Checklist

-        D CA Local Finance Notice explaining the requirements  

-       Citizens Toolkit: The Citizens Campaign offers a free " Citizen Legislator " class online and model "ready to adopt" laws which address several of the checklist items.

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