TRENTON – Gov. Christie today signed into law the Transitional Aid measure that was the source of so much political wrangling this year.
Christie signed S3118/A4373, which also includes oversight measures in the program.
Christie’s office said that the legislation meets his long-standing call for transitional aid and accountability to go hand in hand in order to prevent abuse and politicization of the program.
The legislation provides $139 million of aid, bringing total Transitional Aid funding in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget to $149 million.
The legislation also provides a $1.49 million appropriation for administration, oversight and enforcement.
Christie vetoed the Aid from this fiscal year’s budget because it lacked oversight funding. Both houses of the Legislature eventually passed an Aid bill that included the $1.5 million in oversight money.
The Division of Local Government Services today issued its first annual Transitional Aid Report demonstrating the progress being made to ensure that Transitional Aid is temporary and supported by oversight to implement fiscal and management reforms, Christie’s office said.
“Together, working in a bipartisan manner, we have come to agreement that state aid for distressed municipalities must go hand in hand with common sense and permanent oversight — something the taxpayers of New Jersey demand and deserve,” Christie said in a release.
The DLGS has worked to ensure municipalities receiving Transitional Aid are adhering to responsible fiscal and management practices and to move to correct waste and mismanagement.
For example, according to the administration:
- In Paterson, DLGS moved to require the city to comply with the collection of nonunion employees’ contributions to their health benefits, 1.5% of their pay, which had previously gone uncollected by the city. DLGS also required city officials to pay back overtime payments given to managers and stop all future overtime payments to managers;
- In Harrison, DLGS required the city to stop providing health benefits for 9 elected officials at an annual cost to taxpayers of $200,000;
- In Camden, DLGS worked with the city to secure concessions from the police union, including a more efficient and cost effective 12-hour shift and resultant 30% increase in patrol division staffing.