Danielsen Bill to Give Local Governments Flexibility During Public Emergencies Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Aiming to help local governments continue to function effectively on behalf of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen (D-Middlesex, Somerset) was approved Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The bill (A-3969) would provide authority to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs to extend various deadlines applicable to local governments during emergencies declared by the Governor. It would also extend certification renewal periods for various county and municipal officers; allow local public bodies to hold public meetings remotely; clarify that local governments may accept certain electronic payments; adjusts certain property tax distribution and notice requirements; among other changes intended to ease the burden on municipalities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assemblyman Danielsen released the following statement:

“Government must continue to function at all levels especially in difficult and uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for mayors, town councils and other local officials to continue serving their communities.

“We aren’t sure when this crisis will end, or when local governments may resume business as usual. Until then, it makes sense to give local units greater flexibility to meet deadlines, conduct meetings remotely and clear other procedural hurdles given the uncertain and unexpected challenges they currently face. This legislation will ensure local governments in New Jersey have the tools and flexibility they need to operate under these unforeseen circumstances.”