Council On Local Mandates | Case Histories
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This section provides an index of the complaint cases that met the threshold requirements of the Council's Rules of Procedure and were circulated to State officials and others pursuant to Council Rule 9. The case descriptions, in reverse chronological order, list basic identifying facts and summarize issues addressed in Council decisions.

IMPORTANT: The purpose of the case descriptions is to permit rapid identification of matters previously before the Council and Council decisions, by highlighting facts and issues of a general nature. Therefore, specific facts and issues of potential relevance to individual users may not be reflected. The Council recommends that all of its decisions be reviewed, especially by those who are or may become parties to a case. Most decisions are preceded by a syllabus or summary to facilitate that review.

Complaint filed by Roxbury Township.

  • Filed September 30, 2010.
  • Subjects of Complaint: seeking a declaration that NJAC 7:14A-15.15, a regulation promuglated by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, constitutes an unfunded mandate insofar as it requires the municipality to act as the enforcement agent to ensure compliance with DEP requirements that (1) outside dumpsters and other refuse containers exposed to stormwater are covered at all times and (2) existing private catch basins are retrofitted in conjunction with any repair or reconstruction of private property.
  • Respondents:  NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Amici curiae: NJ State League of Municipalities.
  • Decision (announced August 19, 2011) and written opinion (issued December 21, 2011):

Complaint filed by the Township of Medford.

  • Filed August 15 and October 30, 2008 (consolidated).
  • Subjects of Complaint: recent amendments to Fair Housing Act and Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) Third Round Regulations.
  • Respondents: State of New Jersey and COAH.
  • Amici curiae: Fair Share Housing Center; Mount Laurel Township; Public Advocate of New Jersey; and New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
  • Decision (announced March 18, 2009) and written opinion (issued June 1, 2009): Respondents' Motion for Summary Judgment granted.  Note: majority and concurring opinions.
  • Issues addressed in the opinions include:
    • Exemption for mandates that "implement the provisions of The New Jersey Constitution", and
    • Cited provisions are not legislative or regulatory "mandates," because participation in COAH process is optional (concurring opinion). 

Complaints filed by the Mayors of Shiloh Borough and the Borough of Rocky Hill, and by Southampton Township, Deefield Township, Shamong Township, Upper Deerfield Township, and Buena Vista Township (consolidated).

  • Filed July 2 through July 14, 2008.  An additional twenty-one municipalities' filings were consolidated with the above Complaints.
  • Subjects of Complaints: Provisions of the Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriations Act, P.L. 2008, c. 35, regarding cost-sharing for State Police patrol services to rural municipalities.
  • Respondent: State of New Jersey.
  • Amici curiae: New Jersey State League of Municipalities and Cumberland County.
  • Decision (announced October 22, 2008) and written opinion (issued December 12, 2008): The challenged portion of the Appropriations Act is an unfunded mandate; Claimants' Motion for Summary Judgment granted.
  • Issues addressed in the opinion include:
    • Exemption for mandates that "implement the provisions of the New Jersey Constitution;" and
    • Partial funding of Claimants' costs.

Complaints filed by the Special Services School Districts of Burlington, Atlantic, Cape May, and Bergen Counties (consolidated).

  • Filed January 31, February 5, February 5, and February 13, 2007, respectively.
  • Subject of Complaints: NJAC 6A:14-4.7(a)(2), a regulation of the Department of Education that requires the age span of students in elementary school special education classes be reduced from four years to three years beginning with 2007-2008 school year.
  • Respondent: Commissioner of the NJ Department of Education.
  • Amici curiae: New Jersey School Boards Association and Joint Council of County Special Services School Districts.
  • Decision (issued July 26, 2007): Motion to Dismiss the Complaints denied; Summary Judgment granted on behalf of Claimants.
  • Issues addressed in the opinion include:
    • Standing of County Districts to challenge a regulation for which compliance costs are local district responsibility.
    • Exemption for mandates "required to comply with federal laws or rules or to meet eligibility standards for federal entitlements."
    • Exemption for mandates imposed on public and non-public entities "in the same or substantially similar circumstances."
    • Meeting Claimant burden of proving "additional direct expenditures" resulting from mandate.

Complaints filed by the Counties of Morris, Warren, Monmouth, and Middlesex (consolidated).

  • Filed July 10, August 2, August 17, and August 22, 2006, respectively.
  • Subject of Complaints: June 7 Notice by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) that it would no longer remove deer carcasses from county and local roads, and that counties and municipalities "should be prepared to begin performing this function in their jurisdictions."
  • Respondents: Commissioners of NJDOT and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Amicus curiae: New Jersey Association of Counties.
  • Decision (announced September 26, 2006) and written opinion (issued October 31, 2006): State's Motion to Dismiss denied; Summary judgment granted on behalf of Claimants; Injunctive relief denied (moot).
  • Motion for Reconsideration: denied by Council Order dated December 8, 2006.
  • Issues addressed in the opinion include:
    • Policy statement shifting responsibility and costs from State to local government as a "rule or regulation" within the Council's jurisdiction.

Complaint by the Borough of Jamesburg.

  • Filed February 2, 2004.
  • Subject of Complaint: N.J.A.C. 8:23A-1.12(c)(1), a regulation of the Department of Health and Senior Services, requiring that animal transport vehicles be equipped with temperature control mechanisms.
  • Respondent: Department of Health and Senior Services.
  • Amicus curiae: New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
  • Decision (issued October 28, 2004): Motion to Dismiss the Complaint granted.
  • Issues addressed in the opinion include:
    • Exemption for mandates imposed on public and non-public entities "in the same or substantially similar circumstances."

Complaints by the Monmouth-Ocean Educational Services Commission, the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School District, and the Stafford Township Board of Education (consolidated).

  • Filed January 21, January 23, and January 26, 2004, respectively.
  • Subject of Complaints: N.J.S.A. 18A:20-40 regarding tests to be conducted by public schools for the presence of radon gas.
  • Respondents: Commissioners of Education and of the Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Amici Curiae (participating): New Jersey School Boards Association; Ridgewood Board of Education; Garden State Coalition of Schools; and Fair Lawn Board of Education, Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education, Jackson Township Board of Education, Jamesburg Board of Education, Keyport Board of Education, Lincoln Park Board of Education, Mount Olive Township Board of Education, and Ramapo-Indian Hills Board of Education.
  • Decision (issued August 20, 2004): Relief granted.
  • Issues addressed in the opinion include:
    • Exemption for mandates imposed on public and non-public entities "in the same or substantially similar circumstances;" and
    • Exemption for mandates that "implement the provisions of the New Jersey Constitution."


Joint Complaint by the Board of Education and Borough of Highland Park.

  • Filed August 12, 2002.
  • Subject of Complaint: the portion of the 1997 regulations of Department of Education, N.J.A.C. 6A:11-1.2, which defines a Charter School "region of residence."
  • Respondents: Commissioner of Education, Greater Brunswick Charter School, and Edison Township Board of Education.
  • Amicus curiae: New Jersey Charter Public Schools Association.
  • Decision (issued January 31, 2003): Summary judgment granted in favor of Respondents, Complaint dismissed.
  • Issues addressed in the opinion include:
    • Proof(s) required to demonstrate increased costs to Claimants to implement the regulation.

Joint Complaint by the Boards of Education of Knowlton and Blairstown Townships and the Township of Knowlton.

  • Filed September 17, 2001.
  • Subjects of Complaint: (1) the portion of the 1997 regulations of Department of Education, N.J.A.C. 6A:11-1.2, which defines a Charter School "region of residence;" and (2) N.J.A.C. 6A:27-3.1 and -3.3, Department of Education regulations relating to the transportation of students within a region of residence.
  • Respondents: Commissioner of Education and Ridge and Valley Charter School through its Founders.
  • Hearing held, but no ruling issued. No funding required of Claimants, because Charter School did not open in that year; therefore, by order dated June 12, 2002, Complaint was dismissed without prejudice to Claimants' right to file another Complaint.

Joint Complaint by Ocean Township (Monmouth County) and Frankford Township.

  • Filed October 17, 2001.
  • Subject of Complaint: Amendment to the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-18, providing that zoning permits be granted or denied within ten business days or be deemed approved.
  • Respondent: State of New Jersey 
  • Amici curiae: New Jersey Builders Association and New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
  • Decision (issued August 2, 2002): Motion to Dismiss the Complaint granted. Note: majority and minority opinions.
  • Issues addressed in the opinions include:
    • Provision in the pre-existing law allowing municipalities to increase fees to offset additional costs required to implement the statutory requirement.


Complaints by the Board of Education and Borough of Highland Park (consolidated).

  • Filed October 29, 1998 (Highland Park Board of Education) and December 16, 1998 (Borough of Highland Park).
  • Subjects of Complaints: (1) 1998 Department of Education regulation that amended N.J.A.C. 6A:11-1.2, to change the formula for school district funding of Charter Schools; and (2) 1997 Department of Education regulation, at N.J.A.C. 6A:11-1.2, that defines a Charter School "region of residence."
  • Respondents: Commissioner of Education, Greater Brunswick Charter School, and Edison Township Board of Education.
  • Amici Curiae: Ocean City Board of Education, Child Advocates Renewing Public Education, and Sixteen Abbott Charter Schools.
  • Decision (issued August 5, 1999): Motions to Dismiss the Complaint denied.
  • Decision (issued May 11, 2000): Relief granted as to amended funding regulation, denied as to regulation defining "regions of residence."
  • Issues addressed in the opinions include:
    • Standing of municipality to challenge a regulation applicable to local board of education;
    • Beginning date(s) of the Council's jurisdiction;
    • Exemption for mandates that "implement the provisions of the New Jersey Constitution;"
    • Exemption for mandates that "repeal, revise or ease" an existing requirement or mandate; and
    • Proof(s) required to demonstrate increased costs to Claimants to implement the regulation (regarding "region of residence").


Complaint by the Borough of North Arlington.

  • Filed September 15, 1998.
  • Subject of Complaint: Statute relating to maps to be used in court for drug-related offenses in school zones (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1).
  • Respondent: State of New Jersey.
  • No hearing and no ruling issued; Complaint withdrawn by letter of December 9, 1998.
  • Consent order for dismissal signed January 14, 1999.


Complaint by the Board of Education for the City of Clifton.

  • Filed March 19, 1998 (for injunctive relief).
  • Subjects of Complaint: 1997 Regulations issued by the Department of Education related to Charter School funding and transportation of Charter School students (N.J.A.C. 6A:11-1.1 et seq., and N.J.A.C. 6A:11-4.1).
  • Respondents: Commissioner of Education and Classical Academy Charter School of Clifton.
  • Decision (issued May 13, 1998): injunctive relief denied; Motion to dismiss the Complaint granted.
  • Issues addressed in the opinion include:
    • "substantial likelihood" test for injunctive relief; and
    • beginning date(s) of the Council's jurisdiction.