2016 Fire District Budget Submission - 09/02/2015
Fire District budget documents for 2016 are now available on the Division of Local Government Services website. Local Finance Notice 2015-16 describes the budget process fire districts must follow. Each fire district is required to submit its budget on the forms provided by the Division, which are similar to last year's. If you need assistance completing the forms, the Bureau of Authority Regulation is available to assist you and may be reached at (609) 633-6238 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading "Fire District Budget Submission".
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Minimum Bid Thresholds Adjusted by State Treasurer - 07/02/2015
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-3, the State Treasurer has increased the minimum bid threshold from $36,000 to $40,000 for entities subject to the Local Public Contracts Law whose purchasing agents possess a Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA) certificate awarded by the Division of Local Government Services. As such, the new quote threshold for local units with QPAs is $6,000 (15% of the $40,000 QPA bid threshold). Local units that do not have a QPA-certified purchasing agent remain subject to the $17,500 minimum bid threshold set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:11-3 and 40A:11-9a, with the corresponding quote threshold remaining $2,625 (15% of the $17,500 non-QPA bid threshold). Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-3, the State Treasurer has also increased the minimum bid thresholds for school districts with QPA-certified purchasing agents from $36,000 to $40,000. Like local units with QPAs, the new quote threshold for school districts with QPAs is $6,000. The minimum bid threshold for those school districts without QPA-certified purchasing agents has also been increased from $26,000 to $29,000, with the corresponding quote threshold increased to $4,350 (15% of the $29,000 non-QPA school district bid threshold). The bid threshold adjustments are effective as of July 1, 2015. The Division will be issuing a Local Finance Notice further discussing the matter.
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Late Adoption of Fire District Budgets Due to State of Emergency - 02/04/2015
Due to the state of emergency declared on January 26, 2015, certain Fire Districts that were scheduled to adopt their 2015 budgets on that day may have had to cancel their regularly scheduled public hearings. Therefore, those Fire Districts will not have sufficient time to schedule a special meeting at which to adopt their 2015 budgets at least 25 days in advance of the election date of February 21, 2015, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-78.4. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-78.4, the Fire District must also publish the adopted budget at least once in a newspaper circulating in the fire district at least 7 days prior to the annual election, which is February 14, 2015.
Fire Districts that are in this situation should schedule a special meeting at which they will adopt their 2015 budgets. The special meeting should be scheduled to provide sufficient time for the budget to be published at least once in a local publication prior to February 14, 2015, as required by N.J.S.A. 40A:14-78.4. "Adequate notice" of the special meeting should be provided to the public at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting as defined by N.J.S.A. 10:4-8(d).
Fire Districts must comply with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-78.2, which requires that the budget be read at the public hearing in full, or be read by its title if 1) a complete copy of the approved budget has been posted in a public place and made available to each person requesting a copy at least one week prior to the public hearing, and 2) the commissioners pass a resolution affirming that the budget shall be read by its title and has been posted at least one week in advance of the public hearing. If the Fire District had met the requirements to read the budget by its title in anticipation of holding its public hearing on January 26, 2015, then it is considered to have met the requirements of N.J.S.A. 40A:14-78.2 in permitting the budget to be read by its title at the special meeting. The Fire District is not required to post the approved budget for an additional week prior to the special meeting if it had already met the requirement in advance of the January 26, 2015, regularly scheduled public hearing. If the Fire District did not meet the requirement to read the budget by its title prior to its regularly scheduled public hearing, then the budget must be read in full at the special meeting, or the budget must be posted and made available to each person that requests it at least one week prior to the special meeting in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-78.2. Bureau of Authority Regulation staff will respond to e-mails to email@example.com with questions or need for assistance as timely as possible.
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LOSAP Annual CPI Adjustment - 01/22/2015
Local Finance Notice 2015-02 provides local units administering a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) with general information regarding LOSAP award increases together with the annual cost of living adjustment to the maximum award amounts.
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Annual Audit Requirements: Authorities and Fire Districts - 09/17/2014
Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:31-7.6, each authority and special district (including fire districts) must conduct an annual audit for their respective fiscal year in accordance with the following standards:
1) Generally accepted auditing standards as promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; 2) Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States and the United States Government Accountability Office (often referred to as "Yellow Book," "Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards," or "GAGAS"); and 3) Audit standards having been adopted as rules by the Local Finance Board and the Division of Local Government Services, Department of Community Affairs, State of New Jersey. Local Finance Notice 2014-13 describes the standards applicable to audits of all entities subject to the Local Authorities Fiscal Control Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:5A-1 et seq.) Audit submissions will not be accepted by the Division if a local authority or fire district submits an audit not complying with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 5:31-7.6. This will result in a delay in the Division's approval of future budgets submitted by the local authority or fire district until an audit is submitted complying with N.J.A.C. 5:31-7.6. In addition, any applications submitted to the Local Finance Board may not be heard until a compliant audit is submitted to the Division. Any questions regarding these audit requirements should be directed to the Division's Authority Regulation Section by calling 609-984-0132, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading "Authority Audit Questions" or "Fire District Audit Questions".
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