The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee cleared bills Thursday that broaden rent control provisions, require commissions and authorities to maintain web sites, and give towns a break on the timetable for repaying tax refunds due to successful appeals.
A bill, S2762, that would allow a municipality to spread out over three years refunds due to successful tax appeals cleared the committee.
The law now requires a town make full payment of excess taxes plus interest within 60 days; the proposal is designed to relieve towns of the burden of remitting substantial funds for tax year 2010 in a short period of time.
The bill is supposed to be a temporary measure necessitated by the economic pressure of this downturn.
S2765, which requires all local authorities and commissions to maintain an Internet website to promote greater public transparency, was passed in committee. The bill would implement changes to state laws recommended by the Office of the State Comptroller in its report that identified 587 local agencies.
The report indicated that even when local agencies establish websites, those websites often lack basic and significant information about the operations and fiscal affairs of local commissions and authorities.
S2771, which requires the Department of Community Affairs to create a maintenance code for and to oversee the private inspection on a five-year basis of the exterior building walls of certain buildings, whether residential or commercial, was approved in the committee.
The bill would require the owner of each building to retain a professional engineer to conduct periodic inspections of exterior building walls, and to prepare and file a report on the inspection periodically with the Department of Community Affairs. The bill would also require that any necessary repairs to an unsafe building wall, or a building wall in need of maintenance, be made in order to protect the public or to ensure public safety.
S2795, which makes changes to certain aspects of building inspection law, cleared the committee. This bill moves the enforcement of the provisions of the State Housing Code which may be applied to multiple dwellings, to the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law.” This means that periodic inspection of multiple dwellings for compliance with property maintenance codes, and use and occupancy requirements, will now be performed solely by the state, and not by a municipality, unless it is performing the State inspection pursuant to a contract with the State.
S2565, which would require the Office of State Comptroller to conduct a compliance audit of a municipality to verify that it has implemented a corrective action plan following a performance audit, advanced in committee. The bill also permits the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs to refer findings that may constitute alleged criminal conduct to the Attorney General or other appropriate prosecutorial authority for further civil or administrative action.
S2552 cleared the committee. This bill provides that when a local unit requests bids for the erection or construction of a building or project, the bid documents need only set forth the name or names of all subcontractors to whom the bidder will subcontract the furnishing of plumbing and gas fitting, steam and hot
S805, clarifying that local rent control provisions apply to multiple dwellings that reserve dwelling units for senior citizens, was approved.