TRENTON – When it comes to uncommitted housing trust fund dollars, don’t assume anything, says the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
In an advisory to New Jersey mayors, the league is urging municipal leaders to not read too much into the high court’s recent decision to deny the Gov. Chris Christie administration a request for a stay in the legal battle over the Council on Affordable Housing.
In March, New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled the governor’s decision to dismantle COAH went beyond the Executive’s authority. The administration appealed the court’s ruling to the Supreme Court, which, late Friday, rejected a request to set aside the lower court ruling until the high court could fully take up the issue.
The league says a possible unresolved issue in the court’s denial of a request for stay is whether municipal housing trust funds can be forfeited to the state in July.
“Unless a legislative extension is passed and signed by the governor before the July deadline, this is likely to also be an issue for the courts,” reads the league’s advisory to mayors. “For this reason, the league recommends continuing your efforts to commit your trust fund dollars.”
Mike Cerra, a senior legislative analyst for the league, said the NJLM is urging members to take a “conservative approach” when it comes to the trust funds.
“Don’t assume facts without evidence,” he said, adding that the debate over trust fund dollars has had “more twists and turns than a soap opera.”
League officials said they will continue to support legislation that would extend the July deadline.