SENATE, No. 2529

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 4, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     The “Preserve New Jersey Act of 2013”; implements constitutional dedication of sales tax revenue for open space, including flood prone areas, farmland, and historic preservation purposes.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning open space, farmland, and historic preservation, supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes, and amending P.L.1999, c.152.

 

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

 

     1.    (New section)  Sections 1 through 14 of this act shall be known, and may be cited, as the “Preserve New Jersey Act of 2013.”

 

     2.    (New section)  The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     Enhancing the quality of life of the citizens of New Jersey is a paramount policy of the State, and the acquisition and preservation of open space, farmland, and historic properties in New Jersey protects and enhances the character and beauty of the State and provides its citizens with greater opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and education;

     b.    The lands and resources now dedicated to these purposes will not be adequate to meet the needs of an expanding population in years to come, and the open space and farmland that is available and appropriate for these purposes will gradually disappear as the costs of preserving them correspondingly increase;

     c.     The Delaware River, the Passaic River, and the Raritan River, and their respective tributaries, and many other areas throughout the State have been subject to serious flooding over the years, causing on some occasions loss of life and significant property damage;

     d.    Beginning on October 28, 2012, the post-tropical storm commonly referred to as “Hurricane Sandy” struck New Jersey, producing unprecedented severe weather conditions, including enormous storm surges, devastating wind, and widespread flooding, crippling entire communities across New Jersey, and inflicting incalculable harm to the economy of this State;

     e.     The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy left much of the State particularly vulnerable in its aftermath and the devastation was only exacerbated by another severe weather event that occurred in the days that followed;

     f.     The acquisition of properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy and of other damaged and flood-prone properties throughout the State is in the best interests of the State to prevent future losses of life and property;

     g.     “Blue Acres” is the term used to refer to the acquisition, for recreation and conservation purposes, of lands that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage;

     h.     Under the Blue Acres Program, structures on acquired property are demolished, the debris is removed, and the property is preserved for recreation and conservation purposes;

     i.      The Blue Acres Program, administered by the Office of Green Acres in the Department of Environmental Protection, has been funded in the past from monies provided in three State bond acts approved by the voters of the State:  the “Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009,”  P.L.2009, c.117; the “Green Acres, Farmland, Blue Acres, and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2007,” P.L.2007, c.119; and the “Green Acres, Farmland and Historic Preservation, and Blue Acres Bond Act of 1995,” P.L.1995, c.204;

     j.     To best ensure the public health, safety, and welfare while also accomplishing the desired objectives of (1) restoring, enhancing, and preserving ecosystems throughout the State for the public benefit, and (2) utilizing public funds in the most economical manner, it behooves the State to continue to fund the Blue Acres program to acquire throughout the State from willing sellers properties that have been damaged by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy and other storm damaged, flood-prone or buffer properties, and to dedicate those lands that are purchased for recreation and conservation;

     k.    Agriculture plays an integral role in the prosperity and well-being of the State as well as providing a fresh and abundant supply of food for its citizens;

     l.      Much of the farmland in the State faces an imminent threat of permanent conversion to non-farm uses, and retention and development of an economically viable agricultural industry is of high public priority;

     m.    There is an urgent need to preserve the State's historic heritage to enable present and future generations to experience, understand, and enjoy the landmarks of New Jersey's role in the birth and development of this nation;

     n.     The restoration and preservation of properties of historic character and importance in the State is central to meeting this need, and a significant number of these historic properties are located in urban centers, where their restoration and preservation will advance urban revitalization efforts of the State and local governments;

     o.    There is growing public recognition that the quality of life, economic prosperity, and environmental quality in New Jersey are served by the protection and timely preservation of open space and farmland and better management of the lands, resources, historic properties, and recreational facilities that are already under public ownership or protection;

     p.    The protection and preservation of New Jersey's water resources, including the quality and quantity of the State's limited water supply, is essential to the quality of life and the economic health of the citizens of the State;

     q.    The preservation of the existing diversity of animal and plant species is essential to sustaining both the environment and the economy of the Garden State, and the conservation of adequate habitat for endangered, threatened, and other rare species is necessary to preserve this biodiversity;

     r.     There is a need to continue the funding for the State’s current programs provided by the “Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009,” the “Green Acres, Farmland, Blue Acres, and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2007,” Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution, the “Green Acres, Farmland and Historic Preservation, and Blue Acres Bond Act of 1995,” and the nine previous similar bond acts enacted in 1961, 1971, 1974, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1989, and 1992, and various implementing laws; and

     s.     It is therefore in the public interest to preserve as much land for recreation and conservation purposes, including flood-prone land, and farmland, and as many historic properties, as possible within the means provided by Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution, and, by doing so, to advance the policies and achieve the goals set forth in this act.

 

     3.    (New section)  As used in sections 1 through 14 of this act:

     "2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys" means any moneys made available pursuant to Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution deposited in the trust funds established pursuant to sections 6, 7, 8, and 9 of this act, and appropriated by law, for any of the purposes set forth in Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution or this act.

     "Acquisition" or "acquire" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     “Blue Acres cost” means the expenses incurred in connection with:  all things deemed necessary or useful and convenient for the acquisition by the State, for recreation and conservation purposes, of lands that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage; the execution of any agreements or franchises deemed by the Department of Environmental Protection to be necessary or useful and convenient in connection with any Blue Acres project authorized by this act; the procurement or provision of appraisal, archaeological, architectural, conservation, design, engineering, financial, geological, historic research, hydrological, inspection, legal, planning, relocation, surveying, or other professional advice, estimates, reports, services, or studies; the purchase of title insurance; the undertaking of feasibility studies; the demolition of structures, the removal of debris, and the restoration of lands to a natural state or to a state useful for recreation and conservation purposes; the establishment of a reserve fund or funds for working capital, operating, maintenance, or replacement expenses as the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury may determine; and reimbursement to any fund of the State of moneys that may have been transferred or advanced therefrom to any fund established by this act, or any moneys that may have been expended therefrom for, or in connection with, this act.

     “Blue Acres project” means any project of the State to acquire, for recreation and conservation purposes, lands that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage, and which is funded with moneys made available pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 5 of this act.

     "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

     "Committee" means the State Agriculture Development Committee established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1983, c.31 (C.4:1C-4).

     "Convey" or "conveyance" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Cost" means the expenses incurred in connection with:  all things deemed necessary or useful and convenient for the acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, the acquisition of development easements or fee simple titles to farmland, or the preservation of historic properties, as the case may be; the execution of any agreements or franchises deemed by the Department of Environmental Protection, State Agriculture Development Committee, or New Jersey Historic Trust, as the case may be, to be necessary or useful and convenient in connection with any project funded in whole or in part using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys; the procurement or provision of appraisal, archaeological, architectural, conservation, design, engineering, financial, geological, historic research, hydrological, inspection, legal, planning, relocation, surveying, or other professional advice, estimates, reports, services, or studies; the purchase of title insurance; the undertaking of feasibility studies; the establishment of a reserve fund or funds for working capital, operating, maintenance, or replacement expenses, as the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury may determine; and reimbursement to any fund of the State of moneys that may have been transferred or advanced therefrom to any fund established by this act, or any moneys that may have been expended therefrom for, or in connection with, this act.

     "Department" means the Department of Environmental Protection.

     "Development" or "develop" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Development easement" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Farmland" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Farmland preservation," "farmland preservation purposes" or "preservation of farmland" means the same as those terms are defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Historic preservation," "historic preservation purposes," or "preservation of historic properties" means the same as those terms are defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Historic property" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Land" or "lands" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Local government unit" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "New Jersey Historic Trust" means the entity established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1967, c.124 (C.13:1B-15.111).

     "Permitted investments" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Preserve New Jersey Blue Acres Trust Fund” means the Preserve New Jersey Blue Acres Trust Fund established pursuant to section 7 of this act.

     "Preserve New Jersey Farmland Preservation Trust Fund" means the Preserve New Jersey Farmland Preservation Trust Fund established pursuant to section 8 of this act.

     "Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund" means the Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund established pursuant to section 6 of this act.

     "Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Trust Fund" means the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Trust Fund established pursuant to section 9 of this act.

     "Project" means all things deemed necessary or useful and convenient in connection with the acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, the acquisition of development easements or fee simple titles to farmland, or the preservation of historic properties, as the case may be.

     "Qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     "Recreation and conservation purposes" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3).

     4.    (New section) a.  There is established in the General Fund a special account to be known as the "Preserve New Jersey Trust Fund Account."  The State Treasurer shall credit to this account, in each State fiscal year, from State fiscal year 2015 through and including State fiscal year 2044, an amount from the State revenue annually collected from the State tax imposed under the "Sales and Use Tax Act," P.L.1966, c.30 (C.54:32B-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, equal to $200,000,000.

     b.    In each State fiscal year, the amount credited to the Preserve New Jersey Trust Fund Account shall be appropriated only for the purposes set forth in Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and this act.

     c.     On the basis of a payment schedule provided annually by the Garden State Preservation Trust to the State Treasurer, the State Treasurer shall pay to the Garden State Preservation Trust the amount credited to the Preserve New Jersey Trust Fund Account, plus any interest or other income earned on the amount so credited prior to payment pursuant to this subsection, for each State fiscal year as provided pursuant to subsection a. of this section and appropriated pursuant to subsection b. of this section, which the Garden State Preservation Trust shall use for its purposes as set forth in this act.  The State Treasurer also shall pay to the Garden State Preservation Trust such other amounts as may be appropriated from time to time for use by the Garden State Preservation Trust for its purposes as set forth in this act.

     d.    Any repayments of the principal and interest on loans issued to local government units for the acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys credited to the Preserve New Jersey Trust Fund Account as provided pursuant to Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution shall be deposited in the Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund.

 

     5.    (New section) a.  In each State fiscal year from State fiscal year 2015 through and including State fiscal year 2044, the Garden State Preservation Trust shall transfer to the State Treasurer:

     (1)   $109,000,000 which shall be deposited into the Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund;

     (2)   $12,000,000 which shall be deposited into the Preserve New Jersey Blue Acres Trust Fund;

     (3)   $73,000,000 which shall be deposited into the Preserve New Jersey Farmland Preservation Trust Fund; and

     (4)   $6,000,000 which shall be deposited into the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

     b.    (1)  Of the amount deposited each State fiscal year into the Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section:

     (a)   $45,000,000 shall be allocated for the purposes of paying the cost of acquisition and development of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes;

     (b)   $55,000,000 shall be allocated for the purposes of providing grants and loans to assist local government units to pay the cost of acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes; and

     (c)   $9,000,000 shall be allocated for the purposes of providing grants to assist qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations to pay the cost of acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, all as provided pursuant to this act.

     (2)   Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection to the contrary, any repayments of the principal and interest on loans issued to local government units using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys for the acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes shall be allocated only for the issuance of additional loans to local government units for the acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

     c.     (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, the Garden State Preservation Trust, after conducting at least one public hearing upon at least 60 days' advance public notice thereof, and upon finding that it would further the purposes of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and this act, may (a) alter for a specific and identified State fiscal year the funding allocation levels set for or within each of the trust funds as prescribed pursuant to this section for that State fiscal year, or (b) request the State Treasurer to transfer moneys from one trust fund to another trust fund, to respond to the special needs and funding priorities of the State within a specific and identified State fiscal year, respond to exigent circumstances, take advantage of unexpected opportunities, or maximize the impact of financial resources applied to the purposes of any particular funding category.  Upon receipt of any such request from the Garden State Preservation Trust, the State Treasurer shall transfer the moneys between the trust funds in the manner prescribed by the Garden State Preservation Trust.  Moneys so transferred from a trust fund shall not be required to be repaid to the trust fund from which they were transferred, provided that the moneys so transferred are expended for any of the purposes authorized by Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution or this act.

     (2)   Moneys deposited into the Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund from the repayments of the principal and interest on loans issued to local government units using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys for the acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes shall not be subject to transfer to other trust funds or be made available for other purposes authorized for moneys deposited into the Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund; such repayments shall be allocated only for the issuance of additional loans to local government units for the acquisition or development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

     d.    All administrative costs and expenses, including but not limited to salaries, fringe and other benefits, equipment, materials, direct and indirect costs, and non-salaried administrative costs, of the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, the New Jersey Historic Trust, and any other State entity incurred in connection with the implementation or administration of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution or this act shall be paid from the General Fund and not from 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys.

     e.     Grants and loans issued to local government units and grants issued to qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys for the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes shall be subject to the same provisions as those prescribed in section 27 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-27).

     f.     Nothing in this act shall authorize the Garden State Preservation Trust or any other State entity from using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys for the purpose of making any payments relating to any bonds, notes, or other obligations.

     g.     To the end that municipalities may not suffer a loss of taxes by reason of the acquisition and ownership by the State of lands in fee simple for recreation and conservation purposes, or the acquisition and ownership by qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations of lands in fee simple for recreation and conservation purposes that become certified exempt from property taxes pursuant to P.L.1974, c.167 (C.54:4-3.63 et seq.) or similar laws, the State shall make payments annually in the same manner as payments are made pursuant to section 29 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-29).

     h.     The State shall not use the power of eminent domain in any manner for the acquisition of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes using 2103 constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part unless a concurrent resolution approving that use is approved by both Houses of the Legislature; except that, without the need for such a concurrent resolution, the State may use the power of eminent domain to the extent necessary to establish a value for lands to be acquired from a willing seller by the State for recreation and conservation purposes using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part.

 

     6.    (New section) a.  The State Treasurer shall establish a fund to be known as the "Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund."  The State Treasurer shall deposit into the fund all moneys transferred from the Garden State Preservation Trust to the State Treasurer for deposit into the fund pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of section 5 of this act and any other moneys appropriated by law for deposit into the fund.  Moneys in the fund shall be invested in permitted investments or shall be held in interest-bearing accounts in those depositories as the State Treasurer may select, and may be invested and reinvested in permitted investments or as other trust funds in the custody of the State Treasurer in the manner provided by law.  All interest or other income or earnings derived from the investment or reinvestment of moneys in the fund shall be credited to the fund.  Moneys derived from the payment of principal and interest on the loans to local government units authorized by this act shall also be held in the fund.

     b.    The moneys in the fund are specifically dedicated and shall be applied to the cost of the same purposes as those set forth in section 26 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-26).  Moneys derived from the payment of principal and interest on the loans to local government units are specifically dedicated for the issuance of additional loans in the same manner as provided in subsection b. of section 27 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-27).

     c.     Moneys in the fund shall not be expended except in accordance with appropriations from the fund made by law.  Any act appropriating moneys from the Preserve New Jersey Green Acres Trust Fund shall identify any particular project or projects to be funded by the moneys, and any expenditure for a project for which the location is not identified by municipality and county in the appropriation shall require the approval of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, or its successor, except as permitted otherwise in accordance with the same exceptions as those specified in subsection a. of section 23 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-23).

     d.    Unexpended moneys due to project withdrawals, cancellations, or cost savings shall be returned to the fund.

 

     7.    (New section) a.  The State Treasurer shall establish a fund to be known as the "Preserve New Jersey Blue Acres Trust Fund."  The State Treasurer shall deposit into the fund all moneys transferred from the Garden State Preservation Trust to the State Treasurer for deposit into the fund pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 5 of this act and any other moneys appropriated by law for deposit into the fund.  Moneys in the fund shall be invested in permitted investments or shall be held in interest-bearing accounts in those depositories as the State Treasurer may select, and may be invested and reinvested in permitted investments or as other trust funds in the custody of the State Treasurer in the manner provided by law.  All interest or other income or earnings derived from the investment or reinvestment of moneys in the fund shall be credited to the fund.

     b.    The moneys in the fund are specifically dedicated and shall be applied for the purposes of providing moneys to meet the Blue Acres cost of acquisition by the State, for recreation and conservation purposes, of lands that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.

     The State shall not use the power of eminent domain in any manner to acquire lands utilizing monies in the fund; such lands shall be acquired only from willing sellers.

     c.     Moneys in the fund shall not be expended except in accordance with appropriations from the fund made by law.  Any act appropriating moneys from the Preserve New Jersey Blue Acres Trust Fund shall identify the particular project or projects to be funded by the moneys, and any expenditure for a project for which the location is not identified by municipality and county in the appropriation shall require the approval of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, or its successor.

     d.    Unexpended moneys due to project withdrawals, cancellations, or cost savings shall be returned to the fund to be used for the purposes of the fund.

 

     8.    (New section) a.  The State Treasurer shall establish a fund to be known as the "Preserve New Jersey Farmland Preservation Trust Fund."  The State Treasurer shall deposit into the fund all moneys transferred from the Garden State Preservation Trust to the State Treasurer for deposit into the fund pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection a. of section 5 of this act and any other moneys appropriated by law for deposit into the fund.  Moneys in the fund shall be invested in permitted investments or shall be held in interest-bearing accounts in those depositories as the State Treasurer may select, and may be invested and reinvested in permitted investments or as other trust funds in the custody of the State Treasurer in the manner provided by law.  All interest or other income or earnings derived from the investment or reinvestment of moneys in the fund shall be credited to the fund.

     b.    The moneys in the fund are specifically dedicated and shall be used for the same purposes as those set forth in section 37 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-37).

     c.     Moneys in the fund shall not be expended except in accordance with appropriations from the fund made by law.  Any act appropriating moneys from the Preserve New Jersey Farmland Preservation Trust Fund shall identify any particular project or projects to be funded by the moneys, and any expenditure for a project for which the location is not identified by municipality and county in the appropriation shall require the approval of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, or its successor, except as permitted otherwise in accordance with the same exceptions as those specified in subsection b. of section 23 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-23).

     d.    Unexpended moneys due to project withdrawals, cancellations, or cost savings shall be returned to the fund.

 

     9.    (New section) a.  The State Treasurer shall establish a fund to be known as the "Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Trust Fund."  The State Treasurer shall deposit into the fund all moneys transferred from the Garden State Preservation Trust to the State Treasurer for deposit into the fund pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection a. of section 5 of this act and any other moneys appropriated by law for deposit into the fund.  Moneys in the fund shall be invested in permitted investments or shall be held in interest-bearing accounts in those depositories as the State Treasurer may select, and may be invested and reinvested in permitted investments or as other trust funds in the custody of the State Treasurer in the manner provided by law.  All interest or other income or earnings derived from the investment or reinvestment of moneys in the fund shall be credited to the fund.

     b.    The moneys in the fund are specifically dedicated and shall be used for the same purposes as those set forth in section 41 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-41).

     c.     Moneys in the fund shall not be expended except in accordance with appropriations from the fund made by law.  Any act appropriating moneys from the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Trust Fund shall identify any particular project or projects to be funded by the moneys, and any expenditure for a project for which the location is not identified by municipality and county in the appropriation shall require the approval of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, or its successor.

     d.    Unexpended moneys due to project withdrawals, cancellations, or cost savings shall be returned to the fund.

 

     10.  (New section) a.  At least twice during each State fiscal year, the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, and the New Jersey Historic Trust shall each submit to the Garden State Preservation Trust a list of projects that are recommended to receive funding pursuant to this act, based upon the same respective priority systems, ranking criteria, and funding policies as those established pursuant to sections 23, 24, 26, 27, and 37 through 41 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-23, C.13:8C-24, C.13:8C-26, C.13:8C-27, and C.13:8C-37 through C.13:8C-41), section 7 of P.L.2005, c.178 (C.13:8C-38.1), and sections 1 and 2 of P.L.2001, c.405 (C.13:8C-40.1 and C.13:8C-40.2), and any rules or regulations adopted pursuant to those laws.

     The Department of Environmental Protection shall also submit to the Garden State Preservation Trust at least twice during each State fiscal year a list of projects that are recommended to receive funding provided pursuant to section 7 of this act.

     b.    The Garden State Preservation Trust shall review each such list and may make such deletions, but not additions, of projects therefrom as it deems appropriate and in accordance with the same procedures as those established for such deletions pursuant to section 23 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-23), whereupon the Garden State Preservation Trust shall approve the list and submit to the Governor and to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly for introduction in the Legislature, proposed legislation appropriating moneys pursuant to this act for appropriation for the purposes set forth in this act.

 

     11.  (New section) Within one year after the date of enactment of this act, and biennially thereafter until and including 2044, the Garden State Preservation Trust, after consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Pinelands Commission, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, and the Office of State Planning in the Department of Community Affairs, shall prepare and submit to the Governor and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1) a written report, which shall:

     a.     Describe the progress being made on achieving the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and this act with respect to the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including lands that have incurred flood or storm damage or are likely to do so, or that may buffer or protect other properties from flood or storm damage, the preservation of farmland, and the preservation of historic properties, and provide recommendations with respect to any legislative, administrative, or local action that may be required to ensure that those goals and objectives may be met in the future;

     b.    Tabulate, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, the total acreage for the entire State, and the acreage in each county and municipality, of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes, including lands that have incurred flood or storm damage or are likely to do so, or that may buffer or protect other properties from flood or storm damage, and of farmland preserved for farmland preservation purposes that have been applied toward meeting the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and this act with respect to the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes and the preservation of farmland;

     c.     Tabulate, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, the total acreage for the entire State, and the acreage in each county and municipality, of any donations of land that have been applied toward meeting the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and this act with respect to the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes and the preservation of farmland;

     d.    List, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, and by project name, project sponsor, and location by county and municipality, all historic preservation projects funded with 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part;

     e.     Indicate those areas of the State where, as designated by the Department of Environmental Protection in the Open Space Master Plan prepared pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2002, c.76 (C.13:8C-25.1), the acquisition and development of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes, including lands that have incurred flood or storm damage or are likely to do so, or that may buffer or protect other properties from flood or storm damage, is planned or is most likely to occur, and those areas of the State where there is a need to protect water resources, including the identification of lands where protection is needed to assure adequate quality and quantity of drinking water supplies in times of drought, indicate those areas of the State where the allocation of 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys for farmland preservation purposes is planned or is most likely to occur, and provide a proposed schedule and expenditure plan for those acquisitions, developments, and allocations, for the next reporting period, which shall include an explanation of how those acquisitions, developments, and allocations will be distributed throughout all geographic regions of the State to the maximum extent practicable and feasible;

     f.     List any surplus real property owned by the State or an independent authority of the State that may be utilizable for recreation and conservation purposes or farmland preservation purposes, and indicate what action has been or must be taken to effect a conveyance of those lands to the department, the committee, local government units, qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations, or other entities or persons so that the lands may be preserved and used for those purposes;

     g.     List, for the reporting period, all projects for which applications for funding under the Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland preservation, and historic preservation programs were received but not funded with 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys during the reporting period, and the reason or reasons why those projects were not funded; and

     h.     Tabulate, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, the total acreage for the entire State, and the acreage in each county and municipality, of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes that protect water resources and that have incurred flood or storm damage or are likely to do so, or that may buffer or protect other properties from flood or storm damage.


     12.  (New section) Lands acquired or developed by the State, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization for recreation and conservation purposes using 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys shall not be conveyed, disposed of, or diverted to a use for other than recreation and conservation purposes without complying with the provisions of sections 31 through 35 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-31 through C.13:8C-35), as appropriate, and any other applicable law.

 

     13.  (New section) A local government unit that receives a grant or loan for recreation and conservation purposes pursuant to this act shall satisfactorily operate and maintain the lands acquired or developed pursuant to the conditions of the agreement between the local government unit and the department when the grant or loan is made.  In the event that the local government unit cannot or will not correct deficiencies in the operation and maintenance within a reasonable time period, the commissioner may require the repayment of all or a portion of the grant or loan amount received by the local government unit.

 

     14.  (New section) a.  The Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, the New Jersey Historic Trust, and the Department of the Treasury shall each adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement and carry out the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and this act.

     b.    Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, any rules and regulations of the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, the New Jersey Historic Trust, and the Department of the Treasury that have been adopted pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act" and are in effect as of the date of enactment of this act, that are not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, and that pertain to the Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland preservation, and historic preservation programs continued pursuant to this act, shall continue in effect until amended or supplemented and readopted as necessary to reflect the provisions and requirements of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and this act.

 

     15.  Section 5 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-5) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    It shall be the sole purpose of the trust established pursuant to this act to:

     a.     Provide funding to the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, and the New Jersey Historic Trust for all or a portion of the cost of projects undertaken by those entities or by grant or loan recipients in accordance with the purposes and procedures established by Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 and paragraph 9 of the State Constitution [and this act] , P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.), and P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) ; and

     b.    Perform such other duties and responsibilities as authorized pursuant to this act or any other law.

(cf:  P.L.1999, c.152, s.5)

 

     16.  Section 6 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-6) is amended to read as follows:

     6.    In addition to all other powers granted to the trust in this act, the trust shall have power:

     a.     To sue and be sued;

     b.    To have an official seal and alter it at the trust's pleasure;

     c.     To make and alter bylaws for its organization and internal management and rules and regulations for the conduct of its affairs and business;

     d.    To maintain an office at a place or places within the State as it may determine, and acquire, own, lease as lessee or lessor, hold, use, sell, transfer, or dispose of real or personal property for that purpose;

     e.     To acquire, hold, use and dispose of its income, revenues, funds and moneys;

     f.     To borrow money and to issue its bonds, notes or other obligations and to secure them by its revenues or other funds and otherwise to provide for and secure the payment thereof and to provide for the rights of the holders thereof and to provide for the refunding thereof, all as provided in this act;

     g.     To issue subordinated indebtedness and to enter into any revolving credit agreement, agreement establishing a line of credit or letter of credit, reimbursement agreement, interest rate exchange agreement, insurance contract, surety bond, commitment to purchase or sell bonds, notes or other obligations, purchase or sale agreement, or commitments or other contracts or agreements, and other security agreements as approved by the trust in connection with the issuance of bonds, notes or other obligations;

     h.     Subject to any agreement with the holders of bonds, notes or other obligations, to invest moneys of the trust not required for immediate use, including proceeds from the sale of any bonds, notes or other obligations, in obligations, securities and other investments as the trust shall deem prudent;

     i.      Subject to any agreements with holders of bonds, notes or other obligations, to purchase bonds, notes or other obligations of the trust out of any funds or moneys of the trust available therefor, and to hold, cancel or resell the bonds, notes or other obligations;

     j.     For its sole purpose as established in section 5 of this act, to appoint and employ an executive director and such additional officers, who need not be members of the trust, and such other personnel and staff as it may require, at an annual expense not to exceed $150,000, all without regard to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes;

     k.    To do and perform any acts and things authorized by this act under, through, or by means of its officers, agents or employees or by contract with any person, firm or corporation or any public body;

     l.      To procure insurance against any losses in connection with its property, operations, assets or obligations in amounts and from insurers as it deems desirable;

     m.    To adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 and paragraph 9 of the State Constitution [and this act] , P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.), and P.L.    , c.      (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) ;

     n.     To make and enter into any and all contracts and agreements which the trust determines are necessary, incidental, convenient or desirable to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) and P.L., c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) ;

     o.    To accept and use any funds appropriated and paid by the State to the trust, including, without limitation, appropriations and payments from the Garden State Preservation Trust Fund Account established pursuant to section 17 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-17) and the “Preserve New Jersey Trust Fund Account” established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) , for the purposes for which the appropriations and payments are made;

     p.    To apply for, and receive and accept, appropriations or grants of property, money, services, or reimbursements for money previously spent and other assistance offered or made available to it by or from any person, government agency, public authority, or any public or private entity whatever for any lawful corporate purpose of the trust, including, without limitation, grants, appropriations, or reimbursements from the federal government, and to apply and negotiate for these upon such terms and conditions as may be required by any person, government agency, authority, or entity as the trust may determine to be necessary, convenient, or desirable, provided that all such moneys, grants, appropriations, and reimbursements so received and accepted shall be subject to appropriation by law pursuant to the procedures established by [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) and P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) ; and

     q.    To do any and all things necessary, incidental, convenient or desirable to carry out its purposes and exercise the powers given and granted in [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) and P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill); provided however that nothing in P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be construed as authorizing the trust to use 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) for the purposes of making payments relating to any bonds, notes, or other obligations .

(cf:  P.L.1999, c.152, s.6)

 

     17.  Section 24 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-24) is amended to read as follows:

     24. a. (1) There is established in the Department of Environmental Protection the Office of Green Acres.  The commissioner may appoint an administrator or director who shall supervise the office, and the department may employ such other personnel and staff as may be required to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the department and the office pursuant to [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) and P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) , all without regard to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes.  Persons appointed or employed as provided pursuant to this subsection shall be compensated in a manner similar to other employees in the Executive Branch, and their compensation shall be determined by the Civil Service Commission.

     (2)   The Green Acres Program in the Department of Environmental Protection, together with all of its functions, powers and duties, are continued and transferred to and constituted as the Office of Green Acres in the Department of Environmental Protection.  Whenever, in any law, rule, regulation, order, contract, document, judicial or administrative proceeding or otherwise, reference is made to the Green Acres Program, the same shall mean and refer to the Office of Green Acres in the Department of Environmental Protection.  This transfer shall be subject to the provisions of the "State Agency Transfer Act," P.L.1971, c.375 (C.52:14D-1 et seq.).

     b.    The duties and responsibilities of the office shall be as follows:

     (1)   Administer all provisions of [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) and P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) pertaining to funding the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes as authorized pursuant to Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 and paragraph 9 of the State Constitution;

     (2)   Continue to administer all grant and loan programs for the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including the Green Trust, established or funded for those purposes pursuant to:  P.L.1961, c.45 (C.13:8A-1 et seq.); P.L.1971, c.419 (C.13:8A-19 et seq.); P.L.1975, c.155 (C.13:8A-35 et seq.); or any Green Acres bond act; and

     (3)   Adopt, with the approval of the commissioner and pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations:

     (a)   establishing application procedures for grants and loans for the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, criteria and policies for the evaluation and priority ranking of projects for eligibility to receive funding for recreation and conservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys or 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) , any conditions that may be placed on the award of a grant or loan for recreation and conservation purposes pursuant to [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) or P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and any restrictions that may be placed on the use of lands acquired or developed with a grant or loan for recreation and conservation purposes pursuant to [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 or P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) .  The criteria and policies established pursuant to this subparagraph for the evaluation and priority ranking of projects for eligibility to receive funding for recreation and conservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys or 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) may be based upon, but need not be limited to, such factors as:  protection of the environment, natural resources, water resources, watersheds, aquifers, wetlands, floodplains and flood-prone areas, stream corridors, beaches and coastal resources, forests and grasslands, scenic views, biodiversity, habitat for wildlife, rare, threatened, or endangered species, and plants; degree of likelihood of development; promotion of greenways; provision for recreational access and use; protection of geologic, historic, archaeological, and cultural resources; relative cost; parcel size; and degree of public support; and

     (b)   addressing any other matters deemed necessary to implement and carry out the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 and paragraph 9 of the State Constitution and [this act] P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) and P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) with respect to the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes , including the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage ; and

     (4)   Establishing criteria and policies for the evaluation and priority ranking of State projects to acquire and develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys , and 2013 constitutionally dedicated moneys as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.      (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) , which criteria and policies may be based upon, but need not be limited to, such factors as:  protection of the environment, natural resources, water resources, watersheds, aquifers, wetlands, floodplains and flood-prone areas, stream corridors, beaches and coastal resources, forests and grasslands, scenic views, biodiversity, habitat for wildlife, rare, threatened, or endangered species, and plants; degree of likelihood of development; promotion of greenways; provision for recreational access and use; protection of geologic, historic, archaeological, and cultural resources; relative cost; parcel size; and degree of public support.

(cf:  P.L.2008, c.29, s.114)

 

     18.  This act shall take effect July 1 next following the date of approval of the voters of the State of a constitutional amendment as proposed pursuant to Senate Concurrent Resolution No.    of 2013, or if the date of enactment of this act is after that July 1, then this act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, to be known and cited as the “Preserve New Jersey Act of 2013,” would implement, upon the approval by the voters of the State of an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution, a constitutional dedication of $200 million annually for the next 30 years, from Fiscal Year 2015 through Fiscal Year 2044, for open space, including “Blue Acres” projects, farmland, and historic preservation purposes.

     Upon approval of the constitutional amendment, currently before the Legislature as Senate Concurrent Resolution No.    of 2013, $200 million of sales tax revenue would be dedicated each year for the next 30 years, from Fiscal Year 2015 through Fiscal Year 2044, for the following purposes:

     (1) $109 million would be used for acquiring and developing lands for public recreation and conservation purposes, including lands that protect water supplies, under the State’s Green Acres program;

     (2) $12 million would be used for the “Blue Acres” program;

     (3) $73 million would be used for farmland preservation purposes; and

     (4)   $6 million would be used for historic preservation purposes.

     This bill would implement a dedicated, stable source of funding to continue the State’s current programs for open space, farmland, and historic preservation implemented pursuant to Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution, the “Garden State Preservation Trust Act,” P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et seq.), and various bond acts passed by the voters of this State over the last 50 years.  The project lists to be submitted by the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, and the New Jersey Historic Trust of projects recommended to receive funding would based upon the respective priority systems, ranking criteria, and funding policies established pursuant to the “Garden State Preservation Trust Act,” specifically sections 23, 24, 26, 27, and 37 through 41 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-23, C.13:8C-24, C.13:8C-26, C.13:8C-27, and C.13:8C-37 through C.13:8C-41), section 7 of P.L.2005, c.178 (C.13:8C-38.1), and sections 1 and 2 of P.L.2001, c.405 (C.13:8C-40.1 and C.13:8C-40.2), and any rules or regulations adopted pursuant to those laws.

     Of the $109 million allocated each year for the Green Acres program: $45 million would be used for State open space acquisitions and park improvements and facilities; $55 million would be used for grants and loans to fund local government open space acquisitions and park improvements and facilities; and $9 million would be used for grants to fund open space acquisitions and park improvements and facilities undertaken by qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations.

     “Blue Acres” is the term used to refer to properties that have been damaged by storms or storm-related flooding, that appear likely to incur such damage, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.  Structures on a purchased property are demolished, the debris is removed, and the land is preserved as open space.  Properties are purchased from willing sellers only.  The Blue Acres program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program.

     State sales and use tax revenue in an amount of up to $98 million annually has been constitutionally dedicated for State fiscal years 2000 through 2029 to finance open space, farmland, and historic preservation, including the payment of any debt that may be incurred from the issuance of bonds by the Garden State Preservation Trust for those purposes.  As of FY2010, this dedication is no longer available for actual preservation efforts; it can only be used for the payment of debt service.  In addition, the funds made available for preservation purposes through the “Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and


Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009,” the “Green Acres, Farmland, Blue Acres, and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2007,” and earlier similar bond acts have essentially been depleted, except for loan repayments.