SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR

SENATE, No. 2

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

  ADOPTED FEBRUARY 27, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEPHEN M. SWEENEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Senator  JOSEPH M. KYRILLOS, JR.

District 13 (Monmouth)

Senator  KEVIN J. O'TOOLE

District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator A.R.Bucco

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Encourages sharing of services; makes appropriations.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Substitute as adopted by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

  

 

 

 


An Act promoting the more effective operation of local government and the sharing of services among local units, amending and supplementing P.L.2007, c.63, amending P.L.2007, c.54, making appropriations, and repealing various statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 2 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    The Legislature finds and declares:

     a.     Historically, many specialized statutes have been enacted to permit shared services between local units for particular purposes.

     b.    (1) Other laws, permitting a variety of shared services, including interlocal services agreements, joint meetings, and consolidated and regional services[,] exist but have not been very effective in promoting the broad use of shared services as a technique to reduce local expenses funded by property taxpayers.

     (2)   Experience with the old laws and experience with the "Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act," sections 1 through 35 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-1 et seq.), has made it clear that shared services, joint meetings, and consolidation cannot be effective and viable options for lowering property taxes when the local units are tied to Civil Service rules and tenure provisions limiting their economic feasibility.

     (3)   The goal of improving the provision of local and regional services through a shared services agreement, joint meeting contract, or consolidation that results in a cost savings that may be passed along to property taxpayers over time, is the primary goal of the State of New Jersey, and Civil Service protections and tenure protections must be secondary to, and complementary with, that goal.

     c.     It is appropriate for the Legislature to enact a new shared services statute that supersedes existing Civil Service and tenure provisions so that it can be used to effectuate agreements between local units for any service or circumstance intended to reduce property taxes through the reduction of local expenses.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.63, s.2)

 

     2.    Section 11 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-11), is amended to read as follows:

     11.  a.  When a local unit contracts, through a shared service or joint meeting, to have another local unit or a joint meeting provide a
service it is currently providing using public employees and one or more of the local units have adopted Title 11A, Civil Service, then the agreement shall include an employment reconciliation plan in accordance with this section that [and, if one or more of the local units have adopted Title 11A, Civil Service,] shall specifically set forth the intended jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.  Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the local unit that will be providing the service will be responsible for filing the employment reconciliation plan with the Civil Service Commission.  An employment reconciliation plan shall be subject to the following provisions:

     (1)   [a determination of those employees, if any, that shall be transferred to the providing local unit, retained by the recipient local unit, or terminated from employment for reasons of economy or efficiency, subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units.

     (2)   any employee terminated for reasons of economy or efficiency by the local unit providing the service under the shared service agreement shall be given a terminal leave payment of not less than a period of one month for each five-year period of past service as an employee with the local unit, or other enhanced benefits that may be provided or negotiated.  For the purposes of this paragraph, "terminal leave payment" means a single, lump sum payment, paid at termination, calculated using the regular base salary at the time of termination.  Unless otherwise negotiated or provided by the employer, a terminal leave benefit shall not include extended payment, or payment for retroactive salary increases, bonuses, overtime, longevity, sick leave, accrued vacation or other time benefit, or any other benefit.

     (3)   the Civil Service Commission shall place any employee that has permanent status pursuant to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes that is terminated for reasons of economy or efficiency at any time by either local unit on a special reemployment list for any civil service employer within the county of the agreement or any political subdivision therein.

     (4)] when a proposed shared service agreement affects employees in local units subject to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, [an employment reconciliation plan shall be filed with the Civil Service Commission prior to the approval of the shared service agreement.  The commission shall review it for consistency with this section within 45 days of receipt and it shall be deemed approved, subject to approval of the shared service agreement by the end of that time, unless the commission has responded with a denial or conditions that must be met in order for it to be approved] the parties to the agreement may request suspension or relaxation of the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, along with the corresponding rules and regulations, regarding layoff, transfer, seniority, testing, bumping rights, and tenure and the Civil Service Commission shall provide such requested suspension or relaxation.  The parties may also request suspension or relaxation of civil services rules to permit all affected employees who are not subject to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes to become civil service employees for the purpose of creating a uniform employee pool from which the new shared service provider may choose to hire employees.  Rule suspensions or relaxations also may be requested and granted to permit the expedited designation of a person as a civil service employee without regard to the normal processes, including testing and employment lists.

     [(5)]  (2) when an action is required of the Civil Service Commission by this section, parties to a planned shared service agreement may consult with that commission in advance of the action and the commission shall provide such technical support as may be necessary to assist in the preparation of an employment reconciliation plan or any other action required of the commission by this section.

     (3)   a determination of those employees, if any, that shall be transferred to the providing local unit, retained by the recipient local unit, or terminated from employment for reasons of economy or efficiency.  These employment decisions made by the local units on whose behalf the plan is submitted shall be subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units, except for provisions specifically identified in the plan by those local units as adverse to the goal of improving the provision of local and regional services, such as layoff, transfer, seniority, testing, bumping rights, and tenure.

     (4)   the Civil Service Commission shall place any employee who has permanent status pursuant to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes that is terminated for reasons of economy or efficiency at any time by either local unit on a special reemployment list for any civil service employer within the county of the agreement or any political subdivision therein, except that an employee who has turned down a reemployment opportunity in a position that is one with the same or substantially similar job duties as, the same title and series as, the same or substantially similar hours of work as, and a location within a 25 mile radius of, the position from which the employee was terminated, shall be removed from the special reemployment list.

     (5)   when an employee of a jurisdiction that has not adopted Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, is transferred and given a Civil Service job title pursuant to a shared service or joint meeting agreement, then upon termination of the agreement that employee shall remain subject to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes.

     b.    [If all the local units that are parties to the agreement are subject to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, the Civil Service Commission shall create an implementation plan for the agreement that will: (1) transfer employees with current status in current title unless reclassified, or (2) reclassify employees into job titles that best reflect the work to be performed.  The Civil Service Commission shall review whether any existing hiring or promotional lists should be merged, inactivated, or re-announced.  Non-transferred employees shall be removed or suspended only for good cause and after the opportunity for a hearing before the Civil Service Commission; provided, however, that they may be laid-off in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.11A:8-1 et seq., and the regulations promulgated thereunder.]  The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the local unit that will provide the service and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units, except for provisions specifically identified by the new employer as adverse to the goal of improving the provision of local and regional services.  For a period of 12 full months, the local unit that will provide the service may choose which employees to retain and what titles to place them in, subject to approval by the Civil Service Commission to relax rules pertaining to hiring, testing, seniority, and bumping rights in each case.

     c.     (1) If the local unit that will provide the service pursuant to a shared service agreement is subject to Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, but the local unit to receive the service is not subject to that Title, and the contracting local units desire that some or all employees of the recipient local unit are to be transferred to the providing local unit, the Civil Service Commission shall vest only those employees who have been employed for one year or more in permanent status pursuant to N.J.S.11A:9-9 in appropriate titles, seniority, and tenure with the providing local unit based on the duties of the position and the recommendation of the local unit providing the service.  The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the local unit that will provide the service [and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units] and shall be based on furthering the goal of maintaining or improving the current level of service while also reducing the costs or slowing the rate of growth of the costs of the level of service currently provided by the affected municipalities.

     (2) Once transferred, employees shall be subject to all applicable collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and personnel policies that exist for the local unit that will provide the service without regard to previous employment rights and benefits, except as otherwise provided in the employment reconciliation plan.

     d.    [If the local unit that will provide the service is not subject to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, but the local unit that will receive the service is subject to that Title and the parties desire that some or all employees of the recipient local unit are to be transferred to the providing local unit, the transferred employees shall be granted tenure in office and shall only be removed or suspended for good cause and after a hearing; provided, however, that they may be laid-off in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.11A:8-1 et seq., and the regulations promulgated thereunder.]  The transferred employees shall be subject to layoff procedures prior to the transfer to the new [entity] employer.  A permanent employee who is laid off for reasons of economy due to the joint meeting or shared service agreement shall be given notice at least 45 days prior to the layoff by the current employer, in consultation with the new employer, and shall have a right to appeal the good faith of such layoff by the current employer to the Civil Service Commission, which may consolidate all such appeals.  All appeals must be filed within 20 days of final notice of such layoff.  Once transferred, [they will] an employee shall be subject to any employment contracts and provisions that exist for the new [entity] employer.  The final decision of which employees shall transfer to the new employer is vested solely with the local unit that will provide the service [and subject to the provisions of any existing collective bargaining agreements within the local units] and shall be based on furthering the goal of maintaining or improving the current level of service while also reducing the costs or slowing the rate of growth of the costs of the level of service currently provided by the affected municipalities.

(cf: P.L.2008, c.29, s.101)

 

     3.    Section 18 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-18) is amended to read as follows:

     18.  a.  When a joint meeting merges bargaining units that have current contracts negotiated in accordance with the provisions of the "New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act," P.L.1941, c.100 (C.34:13A-1 et seq.) and contractual provisions were specifically identified by the joint meeting as adverse to the goal of improving the provision of local and regional services in accordance with subsection b. of section 11 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-11), [the] then following the transfer of employees to the joint meeting, those terms and conditions of the existing contracts shall be reinstated and shall apply to the rights of the members of the respective bargaining units until a new contract is negotiated, reduced to writing, and signed by the parties as provided pursuant to law and regulation promulgated thereunder.

     b.    The Public Employment Relations Commission is specifically authorized to provide technical advice, pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1968, c.303 (C.34:13A-8.3), and mediation services to integrate separate labor agreements into single agreements for the joint contract.  The commission may order binding arbitration, pursuant to P.L.1995, c.425 (C.34:13A-14a et al.), to integrate any labor agreement.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.63, s.18)

 

     4.    Section 22 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-22) is amended to read as follows:

     22.  a.  The management committee shall comply with the requirements of sections 10 and 11 of P.L.1983, c.313 (C.40A:5A-10 and C.40A:5A-11) regarding the submission and approval of an annual budget to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs, or to the Commissioner of Education, as appropriate.

     b.    The management committee, not later than November 1 of each year, shall certify to the participating local units the total costs and expenses of operation, other than acquisition and construction costs, of the services, public improvements, works, facilities, or undertakings for the ensuing year, in accordance with the terms and provisions of the joint contract, together with an apportionment of the costs and expenses of operation among the participating local units in accordance with the method of apportionment provided in the joint contract.  It shall be the duty of each participating local unit to include its apportioned share of such costs and expenses of operation in its annual budget, and to pay over to the management committee its apportioned share as provided in the joint contract.  Operations under the budget and related matters shall be subject to and in accordance with rules of the Local Finance Board or the Commissioner of Education, as appropriate.  The Local Finance Board shall be responsible for the determination of the appropriate rule-making authority with regard to each joint contract.  For the first year of operation under the joint contract, a participating local unit may adopt a supplemental or emergency appropriation for the purpose of paying its apportioned share of the costs and expenses of operation, if provision therefor has not been made in the annual budget.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.63, s.22)

 

     5.    (New section)  a.  Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, during the first 12 months following execution of a shared services or joint meeting agreement, the parties to the agreement may apply to the Civil Service Commission for a suspension or relaxation of seniority, selection, tenure, appointment, layoff, and bumping provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, with respect to each affected employee.  Requests for rule suspension or relaxation pursuant to this subsection may be consolidated.  No suspension or relaxation of Civil Service rules shall be granted after expiration of the initial 12-month period.  Upon the re-applicability of all of the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes, the affected employees shall be credited with the time employed during the suspension or relaxation period.

     b.    During the period of suspension or relaxation of Civil Service provisions pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the shared service or joint meeting agreement shall incorporate certain baseline protections for employees, including anti-discrimination policies and processes for appointment and promotion, as shall be promulgated by the Civil Service Commission in consultation with the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

     c.     Shared services agreements, joint meetings, and consolidations may permit the reassignment of job duties and responsibilities of transferred employees with the approval of the Civil Service Commission, however, nothing in this section shall authorize the creation of new Civil Service job titles or classifications by local units.

     d.    The Civil Service Commission may promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L. 1968, c.410 (C. 52:14B-1 et seq.) in order to effectuate the purposes of this section.

 

     6.    Section 5 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-505) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    a.    (1) The commission shall study and report on the structure and functions of county and municipal government, including local taxing districts, their statutory bases, including the fiscal relationship between local governments, and the appropriate allocation of service delivery responsibilities from the standpoint of efficiency.  The study of the transfer of the municipal tax assessment function to the county through the appointment of a county assessor and deputy county assessors in a pilot county pursuant to the "Property Assessment Reform Act," sections 1 through 15 of P.L.2009, c.118 (C.54:1-86 et seq.), shall be conducted in consultation with the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury.

     (2)   The commission shall recommend legislative changes which would encourage the more efficient operation of local government.  These changes may include the structural and administrative streamlining of county and municipal government functions, including but not limited to, the transfer of functions from one level of government to another, and the use or establishment of regional service delivery entities.

     (3)   The commission shall also consider optimal service levels, ratios of employees to population served, cost structures for service delivery, and other best practices.

     Within two years following the effective date of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-501 et al.), the commission shall report its findings to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the General Assembly; provided, however, that findings concerning the transfer of the municipal tax assessment function to the county through the appointment of a county assessor and deputy county assessors shall be reported on or before February 1 of the sixth year next following the effective date of P.L.2009, c.118 (C.54:1-86 et al.).

     b.    Based on its findings pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section, the commission shall develop criteria to serve as the basis: for recommending the consolidation of specific municipalities [,] and the merger of specific existing autonomous agencies into the parent municipal or county government, [or] and for recommending the sharing of services between municipalities or between municipalities and other public entities, including but not limited to counties, fire districts, school districts, and regional school districts[Recommendations for sharing services may result from a study focusing exclusively on the sharing of services or may result from a study examining potential consolidation.  Municipalities to be considered for consolidation shall be within the same county and shall also be situated within the same legislative district.]

     The criteria to govern a study to examine consolidation or the sharing of services shall include, but need not be limited to:

     (1)   a consideration of geographic factors, such as a shared boundary, or in the case of the recommended consolidation of more than two local units, that the consolidated local unit will have a contiguous boundary;

     (2)   an analysis of the economic costs and benefits of consolidation or the sharing of services, as the case may be, including potential tax savings and reductions in government costs through economies of scale;

     (3)   measures to ensure that costs and benefits of consolidation or service sharing are distributed equitably across the entire community; and

     (4)   measures to safeguard the interests of communities in the municipalities for which consolidation or sharing of services is recommended, including the impact of a recommended consolidation or sharing of services on the ability of the public entity to comply with applicable State and federal laws and regulations and on the overall quality and efficient delivery of those services.

     The commission shall [give priority to] focus its studies on local units that [volunteer to be studied] neither participate in a shared service agreement nor have undertaken independent shared services studies or negotiations.

     When the commission's study is one that could potentially serve as the basis for a recommendation that, if not acted upon, could result in a reduction of State aid pursuant to subsection f. of section 8 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-508), then the recommended model, (1) must be projected to be capable of maintaining the same level of service or improving the services provided by the participating municipalities; and (2) must project either a meaningful savings or a slowed rate of growth of costs to result over a reasonable period of time.

     c.     (1) (a) Based upon criteria developed pursuant to subsection b. of this section and in consultation with the local units that are being studied, the commission shall undertake studies to examine the sharing of services between specific municipalities or between municipalities and other public entities.  The commission also may undertake studies to examine the consolidation potential for specific municipalities, but such studies or recommendations shall not be subject to potential reductions in State aid pursuant to subsection f. of section 8 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-508).

     (b) In undertaking its studies the commission shall conduct at least five on-site consultation sessions in each local unit being studied, with the governing bodies, or their designees, and affected officials and other public entities under consideration for consolidation or the sharing of services.  If the consultation sessions are subject to the "Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act," P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-6 et seq.), the commission shall reimburse the local units for any expenses incurred.

     (c) Each consolidation proposal or shared services proposal shall:

     (i) detail the current delivery service being considered for the shared service proposal, including personnel, equipment, and cost; and

     (ii) detail the cost, including personnel and equipment for the proposed shared services; and

     (iii) include an estimate of the total net savings that will result from implementation of the proposed consolidation or sharing of services; and

     (iv) provide options for the delivery of the shared services and an explanation of why those options are not optimum; and

     (v) include a transcription of the public hearings held pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection; and

     (vi) include any other pertinent information.

     (d) The commission shall provide written notice of a recommendation, including any economic analysis, made pursuant to this subsection to the governing body of each local unit that is the subject of the recommendation, together with documentation supporting the commission's recommendation.

     (e) A local unit may request the commission to undertake a study to examine the local unit's potential for consolidation or the sharing of services.  A county may request the commission to undertake a study to examine the county's potential for providing specific shared services to constituent municipalities.  When prioritizing studies to undertake, the commission shall give first priority to local units and counties submitting requests pursuant to this subparagraph.

     (f) The results of any economic analysis performed by or on behalf of the commission shall be submitted to the State Treasurer for a review of the accuracy of the analysis prior to releasing a recommendation pursuant to this subparagraph.  At the same time, the results of the economic analysis shall be submitted to the affected municipalities and other public entities.  No recommendation for a shared service that is submitted to the State Treasurer by the commission shall be made unless the commission finds that the current level of service will be maintained or improved for each affected municipality and that each affected municipality will realize a cost savings.  The State Treasurer shall, within 90 days of receipt, weigh any contrary information or evidence submitted by affected municipalities and other public entities and then either certify the recommendation, or prepare a memo of objections for the commission.  The local unit shall, within 30 days from the date that the commission submits the economic analysis, either certify the recommendation or provide, either electronically, by e-mail, by letter, or by personal delivery, a written objection along with supporting documentation to the State Treasurer.  The commission shall work with the State Treasurer in satisfying the objections prior to resubmitting a recommendation for review and certification.  In accordance with the results of its studies, the commission may recommend the consolidation of specific municipalities, or the sharing of services between specific municipalities or between municipalities and other public entities.

     (g) (i) The commission shall provide written notice to the governing body of each local unit that is the subject of a recommendation, together with supporting documentation and the State Treasurer’s certification of, or objections to, the economic analysis.  The notice shall state that the governing bodies have 14 months to implement a certified recommendation for a shared service, or that they need not take any action with respect to a recommendation for a shared service that was not certified.

     (ii) A local unit may contest the total net savings estimate contained in the commission's proposal by appeal to the Commissioner of Community Affairs within 30 days of receipt of the recommendation.  The commissioner shall have 15 business days to review the analysis and the challenge in order to determine whether the analysis should be adjusted.  The commissioner may extend the review time for the appeal if the commissioner deems a hearing is necessary.  The commission shall not submit a shared services proposal to the Governor and the Legislature pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507) until the commissioner has rendered a determination.

     (h) Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the provisions of section 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall apply to an employee affected by a shared services agreement recommended pursuant to this subsection or agreed to under any other law providing for the sharing of services.

     (2) When a municipal consolidation is recommended by the commission, the commission shall substitute for a joint municipal consolidation study commission that would be formed pursuant to section 7 of the "Municipal Consolidation Act," P.L.1977, c.435 (C.40:43-66.41) or any other statute governing municipal consolidation, and no voter approval shall be required to create the study commission.  The commission shall be present at one or more of the public hearings required pursuant to subsection d. of section 25 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-25).

     (3) When a sharing of services is recommended by the commission, the commission shall hold at least two public hearings in each municipality, in places that are easily accessible to the residents, prior to submitting a shared services proposal to the Governor and the Legislature pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507).  A public hearing required by this paragraph shall be advertised in the official newspaper of the local unit at least seven days prior to the public hearing, posted in each local unit's official buildings and on each local unit's official Internet website, if one exists, and shall also be posted by the commission on its Internet website.  The commission shall reimburse the local units for any expenses incurred in holding the public hearings required under this paragraph.

     d.    When a consolidation or shared service is recommended by the commission, the commission shall recommend State funding for any extraordinary expenses necessitated by the consolidation plan or shared service agreement.  The commission shall recommend that this funding be provided either by funds made available to the commission for that purpose or by the Legislature or State Treasurer as part of the annual State budget process.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.118, s.16)

 

     7.    Section 6 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-506) is amended to read as follows:

     6.    a.    The "Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission" shall work in conjunction with the Local Finance Board and the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs. [To the extent possible, the] The commission may request specific resources from the department.  The department shall provide the commission with all resources requested by the commission that the commission determines are necessary for it to operate and satisfy its statutory duties including, but not limited to, the provision of offices, equipment, materials, and administrative, technical, and legal personnel.  The commission may also request, and shall be entitled to, the assistance and services of the employees of any State department, board, bureau, commission, or agency, as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes.

     b.    The commission may request, and shall be entitled to, the cooperation of the officials and employees of every county and municipality, as it may require, however, the commission may not request or require a county or municipality to undertake a study to examine consolidation or the sharing of a service.

     c.     The commission may incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses necessary to perform its duties, within the limits of funds available to it for its purposes.

     d.    The commission may contract for the services of professional, technical, and operational personnel and consultants as it may determine are necessary to perform its duties, within the limits of funds available to it for its purposes.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.54, s.6)

 

     8.    Section 7 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-507) is amended to read as follows:

     7.    a. The "Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission" shall annually, by January 31st, submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report summarizing the commission's activities over the course of the previous calendar year.

     b.    In the event that the commission proposes consolidation of local units [or a shared services agreement], the commission shall submit a copy of the consolidation [or shared services] proposal to the Governor and the Legislature no later than May 1st of the year in which the proposed consolidation is to be put before the voters pursuant to subsection a. of section 8 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-508).  A municipal consolidation proposal shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the form of government, the election of officers, the apportionment of debts, and other issues between pairs or groups of municipalities which the commission proposes should consolidate or share services.

     c.     A consolidation [or shared services] proposal shall take effect at the end of a period of 30 calendar days after the date on which the proposal is transmitted to the Senate and General Assembly, on a day on which both thereof shall be meeting in the course of a regular or special session, unless, between the date of transmittal and the end of the 30-day period, the Legislature passes a concurrent resolution stating in substance that the Legislature does not favor the consolidation proposal.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.54, s.7)

 

     9.    Section 8 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-508) is amended to read as follows:

     8.    a.  Upon the [taking effect of a consolidation or] State Treasurer's certification of a recommendation for shared services [proposal] pursuant to [subsection b. of] section [7] 5 of P.L.2007, c.54 [(C.52:27D-507)] (C.52:27D-505), [each recommendation included therein] the recommendation shall either be:

     (1) approved by a resolution or ordinance, as appropriate, of the affected local unit's governing body; or

     (2) put before the affected voters at the next general election [and].  The recommendation shall become effective under this paragraph only upon its adoption by a majority of the voters of each affected municipality.

     (3) Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the governing body of a local unit from approving the shared services proposal and putting that proposal before the affected voters at the next general election.

     b.    In order to effectuate the provisions of paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection a. of this section, the Secretary of State shall forward to the clerk of each county in which the affected local units are located a public question to be included on the ballots at the next general election for the election districts encompassing those affected local units.

     [(1) The question with respect to consolidation shall read as follows:

     "Shall (insert the names of the participating local units) be consolidated into a single local unit to be known as (insert the name proposed for the consolidated local unit)?"

     (2)] The question with respect to a shared services proposal shall read as follows:

     "Shall (insert the services to be shared) be jointly undertaken between (insert the  names of the entities between which sharing is to occur)?  The State's Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission proposes this “sharing of services” and estimates that it can save $ (insert estimate of savings included in the proposal pursuant to subsection c. of section 5 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-505)).  This proposed sharing of service will (insert "reduce," "increase," "not change," or "slow the rate of growth of") the level of service currently provided by (insert the name of the entity) according to the State's recommendation.  This estimated savings will result, on average, of a savings of $ (insert savings per property taxpayer based on averaged assessed property) per property tax bill of the averaged assessed property of $ (insert the averaged assessed property).  The (insert name of entity) (insert "supports" or "opposes") this proposed shared service for the following reason(s) (insert the one or more reasons).  If a majority of the voters vote "No", the State shall reduce “State Aid” to your municipality by that amount each year."

     c.     [The consolidation of pairs or groups of local units recommended for consolidation under subsection a. of this section] An approved shared services proposal shall be [accomplished] implemented within 14 months following [the] voter approval of the [consolidation recommendation] proposal.

     d.    (1) No question with respect to a consolidation recommended or proposed by the commission shall be submitted to the voters of a local unit.

     (2)   The adoption of a form of government, the election of officers, the apportionment of debts, and other issues between pairs or groups of municipalities [required] that choose to consolidate pursuant to [an approved] a consolidation [recommendation] proposal [under subsection c. of this section] shall be determined by the commission, as far as practicable, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the "Municipal Consolidation Act," P.L.1977, c.435 (C.40:43-66.35 et al.) or any other statute governing municipal consolidation.

     e.     For a period of 10 years [from the] following implementation of an approved consolidation [of a pair or group of municipalities pursuant to a consolidation recommendation approved under subsection c. of this section] proposal, and notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the residents of [those municipalities] the consolidated municipality, or portions thereof, shall not have the right to secede to form a new municipality, or to consolidate with, or annex themselves to, any other municipality.

     f.     (1) If a majority of the voters of a municipality do not approve a shared services proposal, or if that municipality does not make a good faith attempt to enter into and implement the proposed shared services agreement within 14 months following governing body or voter approval, then the State shall annually reduce the total amount of State aid allocated to that municipality under the Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid (CMPTRA) program, by the total net savings estimated in the proposal pursuant to subsection c. of section 5 of P.L.2007, c.54 (C.52:27D-505).

     (2)   No municipality shall be subject to a reduction in its CMPTRA allocation for its refusal to comply with a consolidation recommendation or proposal by the commission.

     (3)   No municipality shall be subject to a reduction in its CMPTRA allocation if it approved a shared services proposal and the failure to implement the proposal was due to the action or inaction of the governing body or voters of another municipality.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.54, s.8)

 

     10.  (New section)  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Community Affairs such sums as may be necessary for the operating expenses of the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury.

 

     11.  (New section)  There is appropriated from the Property Tax Relief Fund to the Department of Community Affairs such sums for non-recurring costs that the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission determines are necessary to fund extraordinary expenses of local units to implement consolidation plans and shared service agreements, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury.

 

     12.  (New section) The following sections are repealed:

     Section 8 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-8);

     Section 17 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-17);

     Section 19 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.40A:65-19);

     Sections 16 through 18 of P.L.1975, c.329 (C.26:3A2-16 through 26:3A2-18).

 

     13.  This act shall take effect immediately.