TRENTON – The League of Municipalities cheered a decision by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court Monday that prohibits the state from taking control of municipal affordable housing trust funds, saying that the funds provide towns revenue to build such housing without being overly reliant on property taxes.
The decision was made following a challenge filed by the Fair Share Housing Center, which argued that the agency failed to comply with its own existing regulations.
“We welcome and appreciate the court’s prompt action. The state’s attempted efforts to take municipal trust funds lacks any fairness or logic, coming after the lack of state regulations to guide municipal spending and COAH’s failure to meet for well over two years,” league President and East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov said in a statement.
“At the end of the day, if the administration is successful in seizing these municipal dollars, then local property taxpayers are going be on the hook to pay for state-mandated costs. This amounts to nothing more than a brazen raid on municipal dollars to plug holes in the state budget and a real slap at local property taxpayers.
“No reasonable person could find this lack of process and state money grab acceptable,” she added.
The affordable housing trust funds are collected by municipalities from developer fees to subsidize the construction of affordable housing, assisting municipalities in meeting their mandated housing obligations and providing a revenue source that is not dependent on property taxes.