Schaer Introduces Bill to Help Towns Put More Cops on the Streets, Fund Worthwhile Projects

Assemblyman Gary Schaer has introduced legislation to help municipalities improve public safety by putting more police on the streets without being handcuffed by the two percent property tax levy cap.

Specifically, the bill (A-3929) would create an exclusion to the two percent property tax levy cap for certain amounts that are necessary to provide matching funds required by law, or by agreement, in order for a municipality to receive federal, county, state, independent authority, or nonprofit, funds or grants.

“The purpose of this bill is to give municipalities more discretion to raise funds for much-needed initiatives that they’ve been forced to scale back on since the two percent property tax cap was instituted,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Being able to pursue outside funding will help towns like Passaic put more police officers on the street and, perhaps for some towns, even more firefighters. This change will help us achieve a healthy balance between fiscal responsibility and public safety.”

Currently, many municipalities are not able to apply for grants and other forms of financial assistance if matching funds are required, because the strict property tax levy cap does not contain room to allow them to raise matching funds.

“Without the discretion to raise matching funds, towns are forced to leave money on the table right now. Without this change, we could end up jeopardizing public safety and costing municipalities more down the road. However, if they are allowed to accept a sizeable grant from the state or federal government, or a private entity, in return for providing limited matching funds, it would benefit taxpayers in the long-run.”