SENATE, No. 2171

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 9, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Permits fifth and sixth class counties to assume control and responsibility for operation and maintenance of beaches bordering Atlantic Ocean unless control and responsibility are reserved by a municipality.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the county operation of Atlantic Ocean beaches and amending P.L.1955, c.49 and P.L.1976, c.68.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 1 of P.L.1955, c.49 (C.40:61-22.20) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    a. [The]  (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the governing body of any municipality bordering on the Atlantic Ocean, tidal water bays or rivers which owns or shall acquire, by any deed of dedication or otherwise, lands bordering on the ocean, tidal water bays or rivers, or easement rights therein, for a place of resort for public health and recreation and for other public purposes shall have the exclusive control, government and care thereof and of any boardwalk, bathing and recreational facilities, safeguards and equipment, now or hereafter constructed or provided thereon, and may, by ordinance, make and enforce rules and regulations for the government and policing of such lands, boardwalk, bathing facilities, safeguards and equipment; provided, that such power of control, government, care and policing shall not be construed in any manner to exclude or interfere with the operation of any State law or authority with respect to such lands, property and facilities.  Any such municipality may, in order to provide funds to improve, maintain and police the same and to protect the same from erosion, encroachment and damage by sea or otherwise, and to provide facilities and safeguards for public bathing and recreation, including the employment of lifeguards, by ordinance, make and enforce rules and regulations for the government, use, maintenance and policing thereof and provide for the charging and collecting of reasonable fees for the registration of persons using said lands and bathing facilities, for access to the beach and bathing and recreational grounds so provided and for the use of the bathing and recreational facilities, but no such fees shall be charged or collected from children under the age of 12 years.

     (2) (a) The governing body of a county of the fifth or sixth class may, by ordinance or resolution, as appropriate to the form of county government, assume the complete responsibility for the operation and control of all beaches bordering on the Atlantic Ocean within the county; provided, however, the ordinance or resolution shall take effect no sooner than 180 days after its final adoption by the county and any such ordinance or resolution shall not apply in any municipality that has adopted an ordinance reserving municipal responsibility for and control of beaches within the municipality pursuant to subparagraph (d) of this paragraph.  Whenever a county assumes responsibility for and control of the beaches it shall establish uniform, county-wide beach fees, and county-wide beach passes permitting use of any of the county controlled beaches, to provide funds to improve, maintain, and police the beaches, and to protect the beaches from erosion, encroachment, and damage by sea or otherwise, to provide facilities and safeguards for public bathing and recreation, including the employment of lifeguards, and to perform any other function available to a municipality under paragraph (1) of this subsection.  The county may also exercise the power of eminent domain in order to erect dunes to protect lands, property, and facilities located near the beaches.

     (b)  When a county has assumed responsibility for and control of beaches within the county pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, the imposition of uniform county-wide beach fees shall supersede the imposition of any municipal beach fee and the authority of a municipality to collect its own beach fees shall expire, except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (d) of this paragraph.

     (c)  County responsibility for and control of its beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean shall constitute a public utility of the county for any purpose provided under the "Local Bond Law," N.J.S.40A:2-1 et seq., and the "Local Budget Law," N.J.S.40A:4-1 et seq.  A detailed explanation of the annual revenues and expenditures of the county beach utility, and the relevant section of the annual financial audit prepared pursuant to N.J.S.40A:5-4, shall be posted on the same Internet website on which the county budget is published.  The county may enter into a shared service agreement with one or more municipalities to provide policing or other functions necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the beaches.

     (d) Notwithstanding any provision of this paragraph to the contrary, whenever a county adopts an ordinance or resolution to assume responsibility and control over beaches within the county pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, a municipality may adopt an ordinance reserving to the municipality all such responsibility and control over beaches within the municipality, including the authority to collect beach fees.  When a municipality adopts an ordinance reserving municipal responsibility and control over its beaches, the county ordinance or resolution shall not apply in that municipality.

     b.    A municipality [may] by ordinance, or a county, by ordinance or resolution as appropriate, may provide that no fees, or reduced fees, shall be charged to:

     (1)   persons 65 or more years of age;

     (2)   persons who meet the disability criteria for disability benefits under Title II of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s.401 et seq.);

     (3)   persons in active military service in any of the Armed Forces of the United States and to their spouse or dependent children over the age of 12 years;

     (4)   persons who are active members of the New Jersey National Guard who have completed Initial Active Duty Training and to their spouse or dependent children over the age of 12 years.  As used in this paragraph, "Initial Active Duty Training" means Basic Military Training, for members of the New Jersey Air National Guard, and Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training, for members of the New Jersey Army National Guard; and

     (5)   persons who have served in any of the Armed Forces of the United States and who were discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable and who either have served at least 90 days in active duty or have been discharged or released from active duty by reason of a service-incurred injury or disability. The Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs shall promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to veteran eligibility under this paragraph.

     c.    A municipality or county providing for no fees or reduced fees pursuant to paragraph (3), (4), or (5) of subsection b. of this section shall track, in a manner deemed appropriate by the governing body of the municipality or county, as applicable, the number of persons who qualify under the provisions of those paragraphs.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.240, s.1)

 

     2.    Section 4 of P.L.1976, c.68 (C.40A:4-45.4) is amended to read as follows:

     4.    In the preparation of its budget, a county may not increase the county tax levy to be apportioned among its constituent municipalities in excess of 2.5% or the cost-of-living adjustment, whichever is less, of the previous year's county tax levy, subject to the following exceptions:

     a.    The amount of revenue generated by the increase in valuations within the county, based solely on applying the preceding year's county tax rate to the apportionment valuation of new construction or improvements within the county, and such increase shall be levied in direct proportion to said valuation;

     b.    Capital expenditures, including appropriations for current capital expenditures, whether in the capital improvement fund or as a component of a line item elsewhere in the budget, provided that any such current capital expenditures would be otherwise bondable under the requirements of N.J.S.40A:2-21 and 40A:2-22;

     c.    (1) An increase based upon emergency temporary appropriations made pursuant to N.J.S.40A:4-20 to meet an urgent situation or event which immediately endangers the health, safety or property of the residents of the county, and over which the governing body had no control and for which it could not plan and emergency appropriations made pursuant to N.J.S.40A:4-46.  Emergency temporary appropriations and emergency appropriations shall be approved by at least two-thirds of the governing body and by the Director of the Division of Local Government Services, and shall not exceed in the aggregate 3% of the previous year's final current operating appropriations.

     (2)   (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     The approval procedure in this subsection shall not apply to appropriations adopted for a purpose referred to in subsection d. or f. below;

     d.    All debt service;

     e.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     f.     Amounts required to be paid pursuant to (1) any contract with respect to use, service or provision of any project, facility or public improvement for water, sewerage, parking, senior citizen housing or any similar purpose, or payments on account of debt service therefor, between a county and any other county, municipality, school or other district, agency, authority, commission, instrumentality, public corporation, body corporate and politic or political subdivision of this State; and (2) any lease of a facility owned by a county improvement authority when the lease payment represents the proportionate amount necessary to amortize the debt incurred by the authority in providing the facility which is leased, in whole or in part;

     g.    That portion of the county tax levy which represents funding to participate in any federal or State aid program and amounts received or to be received from federal, State or other funds in reimbursement for local expenditures.  If a county provides matching funds in order to receive the federal or State or other funds, only the amount of the match which is required by law or agreement to be provided by the county shall be excepted;

     h.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1987, c.74.)

     i.     (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     j.     (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     k.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     l.     (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2004, c.74.)

     m.   (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     n.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     o.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.89.)

     p.    Extraordinary expenses, approved by the Local Finance Board, required for the implementation of an interlocal services agreement;

     q.    Any expenditure mandated as a result of a natural disaster, civil disturbance or other emergency that is specifically authorized pursuant to a declaration of an emergency by the President of the United States or by the Governor;

     r.     Expenditures for the cost of services mandated by any order of court, by any federal or State statute, or by administrative rule, directive, order, or other legally binding device issued by a State agency which has identified such cost as mandated expenditures on certification to the Local Finance Board by the State agency;

     s.     That portion of the county tax levy which represents funding to a county college in excess of the county tax levy required to fund the county college in local budget year 1992;

     t.     (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2004, c.74.)

     u.    Expenditures for the administration of general public assistance pursuant to P.L.1995, c.259 (C.40A:4-6.1 et al.);

     v.    Amounts in a separate line item of a county budget that are expended on tick-borne disease vector management activities undertaken pursuant to P.L.1997, c.52 (C.26:2P-7 et al.);

     w.   Amounts expended by a county under an interlocal services agreement entered into pursuant to the "Interlocal Services Act," P.L.1973, c.208 (C.40:8A-1 et al.) entered into after the effective date of P.L.2000, c.126 (C.52:13H-21 et al.) or amounts expended under a joint contract pursuant to the "Consolidated Municipal Service Act," P.L.1952, c.72 (C.40:48B-1 et seq.) entered into after the effective date of P.L.2000, c.126 (C.52:13H-21 et al.);

     x.    Amounts appropriated in the first three years after the effective date of P.L.2003, c.92 (C.18A:7F-5b et al.) for liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance and employee group insurance;

     y.    Amounts appropriated in the first three years after the effective date of P.L.2003, c.92 (C.18A:7F-5b et al.) for costs of domestic security preparedness and responses to incidents and threats to domestic security;

     z.    Expenditures of amounts received pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1981, c.278 (C.13:1E-96);

     aa.   Expenditures for the administration, operation, and maintenance of beaches pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1955, c.49 (C.40:61-22.20).

     In the first full year where an existing appropriation or expenditure that is subject to budget limitations is made an exception to budget limitations, a county shall deduct from its final appropriations upon which its permissible expenditures are calculated pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1976, c.68 (C.40A:4-45.2) the amount which the county expended for that purpose during the last full budget year, or portion thereof, in which the purpose so excepted was funded from appropriations in the county budget.

     In the first full year where an existing appropriation or expenditure that is not subject to budget limitations is made subject to budget limitations, a county shall add to its final appropriations upon which its permissible expenditures are calculated pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1976, c.68 (C.40A:4-45.2) the amount which the county expended for that purpose during the last full budget year, or portion thereof, in which the purpose so excepted was funded from
appropriations in the county budget.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.311, s.18)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would authorize any county of the fifth or sixth class (Atlantic, Monmouth, Ocean, and Cape May counties) to assume complete responsibility for the operation and control of the beaches that border the Atlantic Ocean within the county, by ordinance or resolution, which, under the bill could take effect no sooner than 180 days after final adoption.  Upon the county ordinance or resolution taking effect, the county would assume responsibility for and control of the beaches in all municipalities that do not adopt an ordinance reserving such responsibility and control to the municipality, which municipalities are authorized to do under the bill, as amended. 

     This bill also provides that the operation of the beaches would constitute a public utility of the county.  Revenues and expenditures of the county beach utility would be required to be reported in detail on the same Internet website that the county budget is published.  The bill also provides counties that assume the control of beaches with an exception to the 2.5% cap on increases to final appropriations of the previous year for expenditures relating to the operation of the county-controlled beaches.

     The bill provide that:

     1) a county ordinance or resolution assuming responsibility and control over beaches in the county could take effect no sooner than 180 days after final adoption; and

     2) a municipality may adopt an ordinance reserving to the municipality responsibility and control over beaches within the municipality, in which case any county ordinance or resolution to assume control and responsibility over beaches would not apply in that municipality.