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Finance News

08/03/2020   CY 2020/Y 2020 Extension State Aid Recapitulation Schedule - LN2020-17
07/29/2020   FAST Audit Filing Reminder
07/17/2020   Transitional Aid Application for FISCAL YEAR Municipalities
07/16/2020   LFN 2020-15 - SFY 2021 Budget Deadline Extension and Enforcement
06/23/2020   Levy Certification Update
03/31/2020   Division of Local Government Services-Frequently Asked Questions
03/27/2020   Notice of Intention to Foreclosure Filing System
03/27/2020   New Jersey Historic Trust-Local Operational Guidance-Covid-19-2020-05
03/25/2020   Local Finance Notice 2020-08-CY 2020/FY 2021 State Aid Certification
03/17/2020   LFN 2020-06 Emergency Procurement & Storm Recovery Reserve
03/13/2020   Urgent Notice- Municipal Debt Market Activity
03/09/2020   Reminder Re: Advance Scheduling of Debt Service Payments
02/04/2020   Submittal of the 2019 AFS and 2020 Budget through FAST
03/21/2020   Rule Proposal – NJAC 5:38 JIF Investment Regulations
03/19/2019   CY 2019/FY 2020 State Aid Certification
02/15/2019   FAST Update: Annual Financial Statements
01/10/2020   State Library Per Capita Aid (PCSA) Application
02/15/2019   Per Capita State Aid (PCSA) Application

CY 2020/Y 2020 Extension State Aid Recapitulation Schedule - LN2020-17 - 08/03/2020

Dear Chief Financial Officer:

Local Finance Notice 2020-17 (https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/20/2020-17.pdf) summarizes the state aid payment program for CY 2020 and SFY 2020 Extension budgets. The state aid breakdown and amounts for the August 2020 payment cycle on the dynamic Municipal Aid Recapitulation Schedule is posted on the Division of Local Government Services' website at http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/resources/muni_stateaid.html. Please select "CY 2020/FY 2020 Extension State Aid Recapitulation/Payment Schedule". You will find that answers for many questions are covered in this Notice. If you have additional questions, please call the Office of Financial Regulation and Assistance at (609) 292-4806.

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FAST Audit Filing Reminder - 07/29/2020

Municipal and County Audits must be uploaded and submitted using the FAST portal by the extended deadline of September 30, 2020. Mailed submission of hard copies does not constitute proper submission.

Please visit the Division's FAST website at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/fast.html for detailed guidance regarding completing the audit module in FAST.

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Transitional Aid Application for FISCAL YEAR Municipalities - 07/17/2020

The Division of Local Government Services is preparing levy certifications for counties and municipalities that have adopted their budgets and made all required submissions to the Division.  The Director will be releasing certifications to County Boards of Taxation starting June 29, 2020.

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LFN 2020-15 - SFY 2021 Budget Deadline Extension and Enforcement - 07/16/2020

The Division of Local Government Services is preparing levy certifications for counties and municipalities that have adopted their budgets and made all required submissions to the Division.  The Director will be releasing certifications to County Boards of Taxation starting June 29, 2020.

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Levy Certification Update - 06/23/2020

The Division of Local Government Services is preparing levy certifications for counties and municipalities that have adopted their budgets and made all required submissions to the Division.  The Director will be releasing certifications to County Boards of Taxation starting June 29, 2020.

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Division of Local Government Services-Frequently Asked Questions - 03/31/2020

LOCAL FINANCE BOARD

Will the Local Finance Board (Board) application due date be extended?

Applications for the April 8,2020 meeting were due March 18, 2020. However, you may email the application to Local Finance Board staff in lieu of submitting paper copies this month. The submission cut-off will be posted when a meeting date is determined.

Will the Local Finance Board meet on its scheduled date of Wednesday, April 8, 2020?

No, the Local Finance Board will not hold a meeting on April 8, 2020. Staff is analyzing the applications submitted and the Board will schedule a meeting later this month if necessary. Information about the meeting, including any applicable web or telephonic access information will be distributed when the meeting date is announced. You may check the Board website https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/programs/lfb.html for additional alerts and developing information about the April and future meetings.

Should you have additional questions regarding the Local Finance Board, please send an email to Patricia.McNamara@dca.nj.gov.

Will the current March 27, 2020 deadline to update Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS) Rosters for the 2020 filing year be changed?

No, the due date for updating the 2020 Financial Disclosure Statement roster will remain March 27, 2020. However, please be reminded that the rosters are available for updates throughout the entire year and you may continue to make edits after the March 27, 2020 due date. The 2020 roster will not be locked until the new 2021 roster is opened during 2021.

Will the Financial Disclosure Statement deadline of April 30, 2020 be extended?

No, the deadline for filing is set by New Jersey Statute and the Local Finance Board does not have the power to change the filing deadline. However, the Board has been reasonable in its enforcement of the filing deadline in past years and anticipates extending the same courtesies borne of a reasonable understanding of individual circumstances during the current year.

What date will Local Government Officers be able to access the FDS system to file an individual Financial Disclosure Statement?

The filing system was opened on Monday, March 30, 2020. You may visit https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/resources/fds.html for more information on the Financial Disclosure Statement filing process.

For additional questions regarding the FDS filing system, please send an email to LGS_FDS@dca.nj.gov.

TAX COLLECTION

Can a municipality extend the grace period for property taxes?

No, at this time no authority exists that would allow a municipality to extend the grace period more than 10 days. This is only authorized during natural disasters, under present law:

"in the case of a municipality that has experienced a flood, hurricane, superstorm, tornado, or other natural disaster, interest shall not be charged by the municipality to a delinquent taxpayer if: . . . a state of emergency has been declared as a result thereof by the Governor less than 30 days prior to the date upon which a property tax installment payment is payable"(N.J.S.A. 54:4-67).

Below is the link to for this Notice on the DLGS website:

https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/pdf/DLGS_FAQs.docx

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Notice of Intention to Foreclosure Filing System - 03/27/2020

Access to Notice of Intention to Foreclose Filing System

Effective April 1, 2020, all lenders issuing a Notice of Intention to Foreclose to a residential property must also provide an electronic copy of the notice to the Department of Community Affairs at the same time it provides notice to the debtor. These notices will be complied into a database accessible to the Department, county clerks, the county registers of deeds and mortgages, the county sheriffs, the Administrative Office of the Courts, other agencies designated by the Department, and municipalities, for those properties falling within their geographic jurisdiction. In order to obtain access to the database please go to https://www.nj.gov/dca/foreclosure.html. From this website, users will have access to the filing system, FAQs, a user guide and other pertinent information effective April 1st. Please see the link below for more information.

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New Jersey Historic Trust-Local Operational Guidance-Covid-19-2020-05 - 03/27/2020

Local Operational Guidance- Covid-19 - 2020-05

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis sweeping the nation, the New Jersey Historic Trust (NJHT) is extending the 2020 Preserve New Jersey grant deadline until June 4, 2020 at 4:00pm. The Trust understands that its applicant organizations may be having difficulty completing the application by the original due date of April 23, 2020. As a result, all Preserve New Jersey grant applicants have until June 4, 2020 at 4:00pm to submit the online application. Additionally, all supporting documentation must be uploaded to a USB drive and received by the New Jersey Historic Trust no later than June 4, 2020 at 4:00pm. The online application is available at https://njht.org/dca/njht/programs/preservenj/.

Please reach out to NJHT staff with any questions or concerns about a 2020 Preserve New Jersey grant application. A staff directory is available at https://njht.org/dca/njht/about/staff/.

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Local Finance Notice 2020-08-CY 2020/FY 2021 State Aid Certification - 03/25/2020

On February 25, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy presented his proposed FY 2021 budget to the State Legislature. As set forth in the proposed budget, no municipality is slated to receive less total State formula aid in support of its CY 2020 or FY 2021 budget than it received in support of its prior year budget.

Please review Local Finance Notice 2020-08 at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/20/2020-08.pdf for further details.

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LFN 2020-06 Emergency Procurement & Storm Recovery Reserve - 03/17/2020

Local Finance Notice 2020-06 has been issued to provide guidance on emergency procurement guidance and the use of storm recovery reserves for coronavirus response. 

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Urgent Notice- Municipal Debt Market Activity - 03/13/2020

Please be advised that there has been substantial volatility in the bond market today.   Municipal officials are urged to immediately contact their financial advisors, bond counsel and banks to determine what impact this may have on bond anticipation notes or bond sales scheduled over the next few weeks and whether any action is necessary or advisable to ensure that debt service obligations and adequate cash flow are maintained.

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Reminder Re: Advance Scheduling of Debt Service Payments - 03/09/2020

The Division of Local Government Services reminds local units that they have the ability to schedule debt service payments in advance to ensure payments are issued automatically on a future date.

Although debt service payments are subject to Local Finance Board regulations concerning electronic funds transfer authorization and certification of availability of funds, a properly authorized and certified payment may be scheduled to take place electronically on a future date.  Local units may also contract a bank to act as a paying agent for debt service obligations to assure payment are made.  

In the past, many towns have availed themselves of this option during times of environmental crisis or anticipated operational uncertainty to ensure the core governmental obligation to pay debt service is met. Others schedule debt service payments in advance as a matter of routine to lighten the local administrative burden. 

Although the Division has no reason to anticipate an immediate need, given the recent attention to the potential impacts of coronavirus, the Division issues this reminder as a general precaution and to remind local units of an option available to ensure the continued regular operation of government.

Should you have any questions about how to properly schedule debt service payments, please do not hesitate to contact the Division for more information.  

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Submittal of the 2019 AFS and 2020 Budget through FAST - 02/04/2020

Submittal of the 2019 AFS and 2020 Budget through FAST

This notice provides updated guidance to municipalities and counties regarding submission of the 2019 Annual Financial Statement and 2020 Budget documents through the Financial Automation Submission and Tracking (FAST) Portal.

2019 Municipal and County Annual Financial Statements

In acknowledgement of the need for improved user interface and FAST system acuity and accuracy, and to provide a more standardized and user-friendly data entry and reporting experience, users will not enter 2019 Annual Financial Statement data directly into the FAST portal. The Division has instead promulgated a standardized Annual Financial Statement template in excel workbook format. Municipalities and Counties shall enter their data into the workbook. Upon completion of the AFS workbook, municipalities and counties must submit the completed and certified Annual Financial Statement to the Division through the FAST portal link provided on each local units’ FAST portal home page. The workbook is available on the Annual Financial Statements page in the FAST portal. It is also available through a link on the Division’s dedicated FAST webpage.

The provided workbook must be used exclusively. No user generated excel workbook will be accepted. All formulae and codes are standardized and secured within the authorized workbook to assure complete and accurate transmission through FAST. From the standardized workbook, data can be directly mapped into the FAST database. This facilitates review, certification and analysis of the submitted information. 

Two versions of the Annual Financial Statement workbook have been created that are available for user input: a standard version and an expanded version.  The standard version is available for use by most municipalities, while the expanded version is available for municipalities and counties that require additional pages for grants, improvement authorizations, debt service schedules, and trust funds. If you are uncertain which workbook your local unit should use, please review the workbooks to determine which meets your needs and refer to the Quick Guide for Completion and Electronic Submission of the AFS found on the Division’s FAST webpage. Contact the Division for clarification if necessary.

The Annual Financial Statement page within FAST contains two tabs: 1. Upload AFS and 2. Submit for Review. Users must save the completed file using the following naming convention: <<municode>>_afs_2019. On the Upload Annual Financial Statement tab, users will select the Choose File button, browse their files, and select the completed, standardized excel workbook. Upon successful upload, users must click the Save button. 

After uploading the completed and certified AFS file, the Chief Financial Officer is required to enter the Submit for Review tab and select the submit button to transmit the completed AFS to the Division. This step is required to complete filing with the Division. Only the Chief Financial officer for each local unit will have access to this tab because they are the only individual authorized to submit the AFS to the Division.  Following submission, the CFO will be sent a confirmation email acknowledging successful submission to the Division.

Further instructions regarding completion of the Annual Financial Statement are provided directly within the excel workbook.

2020 Calendar Year Municipal Budget

Similar to the Annual Financial Statement, municipalities will submit their CY2020 budget data to the Division by uploading a completed Municipal Budget excel workbook directly into the FAST portal. The Municipal Budget workbook will be available on the FAST portal’s Budget Page and the Division’s website on or before February 28, 2020. The same workbook shall be utilized for completion of Introduced and Adopted Budgets for both calendar and fiscal year municipalities. 

Upon completion of the standardized budget workbook, municipalities must upload their completed Introduced and Adopted Budget workbooks into the FAST portal. 

The provided workbook must be used exclusively. No user generated excel workbook will be accepted. All formulae and codes are standardized and secured within the authorized workbook to assure complete and accurate transmission through FAST. From the standardized workbook, data can be directly mapped into the FAST database. This facilitates review, certification and analysis of the submitted information.

The Budget module within FAST contains two tabs: 1. Upload Budget and 2. Submit for Review. Users must save the completed Introduced Budget and Adopted files using the following naming conventions: <<municode>>_Introduced_Budget_2020 and <<municode>>_Adopted_Budget_2020. On the Upload Budget tab, users will select the Choose File button, browse their files, and select the completed, standardized excel workbook. Upon successful upload, users must click the Save button. 

Users are also required to upload through FAST all supporting documentation and other files normally transmitted to the Division through as part of the Budget examination process (i.e. Levy CAP workbooks, COLA ordinances, amendments to the Introduced Budget, Grant agreements)

After uploading the completed and certified Budget document, the Chief Financial Officer is required to enter the Submit for Review tab and select the submit button to transmit the completed Introduced or Adopted budget to the Division. This step is required to complete filing with the Division. Only the Chief Financial officer for each local unit will have access to this tab because they are the only individual authorized to submit the Budget to the Division.  Following submission, the CFO will be sent a confirmation email acknowledging successful submission to the Division.

Municipalities are also required to submit 1 paper copy of the introduced budget to the Division. 

Further instructions regarding completion of the municipal budget are provided directly within the excel workbook.

Audit

The Division will be accepting 2019 Audits through the FAST portal module.  Balance Sheet amounts, Findings and Recommendations, and Correct Action data must be entered into the FAST portal. All completed Audits and supporting documentation must be uploaded as attachments within the FAST portal as previously directed. 

Support

Any users with questions regarding access to the Budget and Annual Financial Statement modules in FAST or utilization or submission of the standardized excel workbooks through FAST should contact the helpdesk@dca.nj.gov or call(609) 292-8134 for assistance. 

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Rule Proposal – NJAC 5:38 JIF Investment Regulations - 03/21/2020

The Department of Community Affairs is proposing amendments to N.J.A.C. 5:38-1.1 through 1.2, which pertain to long-term investments by joint insurance funds (JIFs).  The proposed amendments, which are in response to comments submitted when Subchapter 1 of N.J.A.C. 5:38 was originally specially adopted and concurrently proposed, may be found at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/resources/rules_reg.html.  Please reference the links under both the Proposed Rules and Recently Adopted Rules headings entitled N.J.A.C. 5:38-1.1 through 1.3 – Joint Insurance Fund (JIF) Investments.  The notice of proposal contains the proposed amendments for N.J.A.C. 5:38-1.1 and 1.2, while the adoption notice for N.J.A.C. 5:38 contains the original comments.

Written comments on the proposed amendments shall be submitted by March 21, 2020, via email to dlgs@dca.nj.gov or by regular mail to:

Jason R. Martucci, Esq.
Administrative Practice Officer
Division of Local Government Services
Department of Community Affairs  
PO Box 803
Trenton, NJ 08625-0803

For comments submitted via email, please name the subject heading NJAC 5:38-1: Joint Insurance Fund Investments.

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CY 2019/FY 2020 State Aid Certification - 03/19/2019

On March 5, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy presented his proposed FY 2020 budget to the State Legislature. No municipality will receive less total State formula aid in support of its CY 2019 or FY 2020 budget than it received in support of their prior year budget.

 Please review Local Finance Notice 2019-07 at http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/19/2019-07.pdf for further details.

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FAST Update: Annual Financial Statements - 02/15/2019

The Division has finalized system upgrades that will enhance the user experience for those local government entities submitting their 2018 Annual Financial Statements through the FAST portal. The Annual Financial Statement will be available to Municipalities and Counties on Monday, February 18, 2019. As a reminder, the Division has extended the due date for submission of the AFS to the Division through FAST from March 1, 2019 to March 11, 2019.

Please refer to the FAST webpage - https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/fast.html - for updated resources and important user information that will assist in the completion of the Annual Financial Statement in FAST.

As a reminder, Calendar Year Municipalities will not be required to file their Introduced Budgets or User-Friendly Budgets through the Budget module within the FAST portal. Paper submissions of the Introduced Budget will be accepted. However, municipalities will be required to file their Adopted Budgets and User-Friendly Budgets through the Budget module within the FAST portal by April 30, 2019. The Division will provide further updates when the 2019 Budget module is available.

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State Library Per Capita Aid (PCSA) Application - 01/10/2020

Dear Chief Financial Officer,

The Application for State Library Aid (Per Capita) is now available on the State Library's website.  Please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/services_for_libraries/resources/per_capita_state_aid/ and look under the heading "Data Year 2019" for the Application and Instructions.

The due date for submission of the Application is March 15, 2020.

For questions, please call 609-278-2640 ext. 192 or email rkeith@njstatelib.org

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Per Capita State Aid (PCSA) Application - 02/15/2019

The Application for State Library Aid (Per Capita) is now available on the State Library's website.  Please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/services_for_libraries/resources/per_capita_state_aid/ and look under the heading "Data Year 2018" for the Application and Instructions. The due date for submission of the Application is March 15, 2019. For questions, please call 609-278-2640 ext. 192 or email rkeith@njstatelib.org   

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Updated: 08/04/2020