Assemblyman JOHN F. MCKEON
District 27 (Essex)
Assemblyman UPENDRA J. CHIVUKULA
District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)
Provides matching grant program for local governments to facilitate energy efficiency and conservation of resources in public buildings; appropriates $50 million.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act providing for energy efficiency in public buildings, supplementing chapter 27D of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, and making an appropriation.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares:
a. Whereas the Legislature has committed to providing property tax relief through various measures to be supported in part from the additional sales tax implemented as part of the most recent annual appropriations act;
b. Local governments could realize significant, long-term savings through the use of energy saving or efficient measures, including the integration of such measures or energy efficient devices into buildings and supporting infrastructure;
c. Implementation by local governments of such energy efficient methods and measures would be best furthered by the creation of a matching grant program, utilizing those funds earmarked for property tax relief; and
d. The program established under this act will enable local governments to pass along the cost savings for energy and natural resource conservation in the form of reduced property taxes.
2. a. There is created in the Department of Treasury a “Public Buildings Energy and Resources Conservation Fund,” which shall be continuing and nonlapsing, for the purpose of funding grants authorized pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), into which shall be deposited such moneys as shall be appropriated by the State for the purpose of such fund. Moneys in the fund not immediately required for payment or liquid reserves may be invested and reinvested by the Treasurer in the State of New Jersey Cash Management Fund, created pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1977, c.281 (C.52:18A-90.4).
b. Moneys appropriated from the fund may be used to match grants, contributions, donations, or reimbursements from federal aid programs or from other public or private sources established for the same or similar purposes as the fund, as may be available to a local government unit.
3. a. The Department of Community Affairs shall establish and administer a program to provide matching grants to local government units for the purpose of facilitating energy efficiency and conservation of resources in public buildings.
b. Grants made pursuant to this section shall be for the purpose of making sustainable improvements by local governmental units to public buildings that will conserve energy or natural resources and reduce long-term operating costs. For the purposes of this section, local governmental units shall include a State authority, county, municipality, municipal, county or regional sewerage or utility authority, municipal sewerage district, improvement authority, or any other political subdivision of the State authorized to construct, operate and maintain wastewater treatment systems; and local school districts. Projects receiving funding under this section shall comport, to the extent practicable, with the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program. Grants shall be made from the “Public Buildings Energy and Resources Conservation Fund,” created pursuant to section 2 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to the extent funds are available.
c. Grants shall be awarded on a competitive basis, and shall requires the submission of specific plans and objectives for the energy or natural resources conservation project, including a statement of public benefit and the need for the work proposed. Funds shall be made available by the State Treasurer from the “Public Buildings Energy and Resources Conservation Fund,” upon the request of the commissioner, subject to the requirements of subsection d. of this section. No recipient shall receive more than $750,000 from the fund for a project.
d. The Commissioner of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to administer this act in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.); provided, however, that the regulations shall provide that the Department of Community Affairs shall transmit to the Legislature, on a quarterly basis, a list of the proposed projects to be funded by the grants. The projects shall be deemed to have been approved by the Legislature if, within 30 days of said transmittal, the Legislature fails to pass a concurrent resolution stating that the Legislature does not approve of a project or of the payment of a particular grant.
4. There is appropriated the sum of $50,000,000 to the “Public Buildings Energy and Resources Conservation Fund,” created pursuant to section 2 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), from the amounts set aside from the State tax imposed under the "Sales and Use Tax Act," pursuant to P.L.1966, c.30 (C.54:32B-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, or any other subsequent law of similar effect, and which amounts have been dedicated by law for property tax reform measures.
5. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill creates a one-for-one matching grant program for local government units, including municipalities, counties and school districts, to install energy and natural resource saving devices into the public buildings they operate. Such energy saving measures include utilizing renewable energy resources, such as wind and photovoltaic energy, and installing devices and systems to conserve water and add natural lighting to a building. These methods can greatly reduce the long term building operating costs of these public buildings, which in turn may help stabilize property taxes.
The program would be administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Local governments are instructed under the bill to utilize the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Energy under its Building Technologies Program. The Commissioner of Community Affairs is instructed to promulgate regulations for the program in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection.
The program would provide dollar-for-dollar matching grants to municipalities, authorities, counties and school districts that choose to retrofit their buildings or install or retrofit systems to implement conservation methodologies. The DCA is required under the bill to promulgate regulations for the grant application process.
A fund is created in the Treasury Department known as the “Public Buildings Energy and Resources Conservation Fund,” for the purpose of funding the grants authorized by the bill. Recipients are limited to grants not totaling more than $750,000 per project under the bill.