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Fire Districts

09/14/2020   2021 Fire Districts Budgets & FAST
08/25/2020   2021 Fire District Budget and FAST System Update
03/31/2020   Division of Local Government Services-Frequently Asked Questions
03/26/2020   Division of Fire Safety COVID-19 Guidance 2020-06
03/21/2020   Rule Proposal – NJAC 5:38 JIF Investment Regulations
03/09/2020   Reminder Re: Advance Scheduling of Debt Service Payments
01/31/2020   LOSAP CY 2019 Annual CPI Adjustment (For Use in CY 2020)
01/23/2019   Volunteer Fire Appropriations & LOSAP CY2018 CPI Adjustment
03/13/2018   Municipal Budget Appropriations for Volunteer Fire Companies
01/18/2018   LOSAP CY2017 Annual CPI Adjustment
11/20/2017   LFN 2017-23 Update on Fire District Matters
09/25/2017   2018 Fire District Budget Submission
03/07/2017   Budget Appropriations for Volunteer Fire Companies & Districts

2021 Fire Districts Budgets & FAST - 09/14/2020

The Division of Local Government Services is pleased to announce that fire districts will submit their FY2021 budgets through FAST. All fire districts are required to enter their data into the standardized Excel workbook budget template. Upon completion of the fire district budget workbook, each fire district shall upload and submit the completed and certified document to the Division through the FAST portal budget record for the district.

Local Finance Notice 2021-19 addresses the CY 2021 fire district budget process, including use of the FAST (Financial Automation Submission and Tracking) System for budget submission and other key updates. The Notice can be accessed on the DLGS website at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/20/2020-19.pdf.

Notice Sent to: Fire District Officials; Municipal Clerks; Auditor Listserv

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2021 Fire District Budget and FAST System Update - 08/25/2020

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 LFB_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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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 LFB_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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Division of Fire Safety COVID-19 Guidance 2020-06 - 03/26/2020

Local Operational Guidance- Covid-19 - 2020-06 

The Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs has issued new COVID-19-related guidance to local enforcing agencies. Please access https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dfs/ to review the new guidance.

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

Local Finance Notice 2020-01, accessible on the DLGS website at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/20/2020-01.pdf provides municipalities and fire districts administering a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) with information on LOSAP award increases and the annual cost of living adjustment to the maximum LOSAP award amounts.  For LOSAPs with automatic annual cost- of-living adjustments, the CY2019 CPI adjustment (for use in CY2019) is 1.9% for Municipal LOSAPs with a maximum LOSAP award of $1,705; and 1.5% for Fire District LOSAPs with a maximum LOSAP award of $1,742.

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LOSAP CY 2019 Annual CPI Adjustment (For Use in CY 2020) - 01/31/2020

Local Finance Notice 2020-01, accessible on the DLGS website at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/20/2020-01.pdf provides municipalities and fire districts administering a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) with information on LOSAP award increases and the annual cost of living adjustment to the maximum LOSAP award amounts.  For LOSAPs with automatic annual cost- of-living adjustments, the CY2019 CPI adjustment (for use in CY2019) is 1.9% for Municipal LOSAPs with a maximum LOSAP award of $1,705; and 1.5% for Fire District LOSAPs with a maximum LOSAP award of $1,742.

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Volunteer Fire Appropriations & LOSAP CY2018 CPI Adjustment - 01/23/2019

For CY 2019/SFY2020 and CY2020/SFY2021 municipal budgets, the DLGS Director has increased to $154,518.75 the annual cap on municipal appropriations to volunteer fire companies or fire districts.  In any municipality with more than three volunteer fire companies or fire districts, the governing body may appropriate an additional $50,000 annually for each additional company or fire district.  Please review Local Finance Notice 2019-01 at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/19/2019-01.pdf for further details. For LOSAPs with automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments, the CY2018 CPI adjustment (for use in CY2019) is 1.6% for Municipal LOSAPs with a maximum LOSAP award of $1,674; and 0.49% for Fire District LOSAPs with a maximum LOSAP award of $1,717.  An updated Local Finance Notice will follow shortly.

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Municipal Budget Appropriations for Volunteer Fire Companies - 03/13/2018

Effective August 2015, Section 27 of P.L. 2015, c. 95 amended N.J.S.A. 40A:14-34 to increase the amount of funds a municipality can annually appropriate for use by its volunteer fire companies or boards of fire commissioners to $150,000. The Director is required to adjust this amount for inflation every two years in accordance with the Cost-of-Living Adjustment promulgated for the 1977 cap law (N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.1a).  In 2017 the maximum appropriation was increased to $150,750 for CY2017/SFY2018 and CY2018/SFY2019 municipal budgets.  In any municipality where there are more than three volunteer fire companies or fire districts, the governing body may appropriate an additional $50,000 annually for each additional volunteer company or fire district. Local Finance Notice 2017-6R has been issued to clarify that 1) the entirety of a municipality’s appropriation to a volunteer fire company or fire district is subject to the requirement that 50% thereof shall go towards fire equipment, materials, and supplies; and 2) fire companies and fire districts receiving a municipal budget appropriation must provide to the municipality an accounting of how those proceeds were utilized. 

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LOSAP CY2017 Annual CPI Adjustment - 01/18/2018

Local Finance Notice 2018-02 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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LFN 2017-23 Update on Fire District Matters - 11/20/2017

The Division of Local Government Services has identified certain recurring fire district-related issues, including incomplete Local Finance Board applications, Local Government Ethics Law violations, improper budget submissions, and other similar matters.  As such, the Division is issuing Local Finance Notice 2017-23 to address pertinent information regarding fire district budgets, financing applications, ethics, and district composition.  The Notice also discusses recently enacted laws pertaining to fire district consolidations and the movement of district elections to November. Through the issuance of this Notice, the Division hopes that district personnel and other professionals will better understand Local Finance Board expectations and the implications of relevant laws.

 

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2018 Fire District Budget Submission - 09/25/2017

Local Finance Notice 2017-20 provides guidance for fire district budget submissions.  Documents for calendar year 2018 are now available on the Division of Local Government Services website. Please note that any fire district that submits a budget for calendar year 2018 on an outdated form will not be approved by the Division and will be required to re-submit the budget on the correct form. The Division will be rolling out a new web-based Financial Automation Submission Tracking system (“FAST”) that will replace the Word Document and Excel Workbook currently utilized in the Fire Budget Package.  All fire districts will be required to utilize FAST beginning with the 2019 budget cycle.  Over the next several weeks, the Division will be working with select fire districts to participate in a pilot test of the FAST system during the 2018 budget cycle.  If your fire district is interested in participating in the 2018 pilot, please contact Maureen Mitchell (maureen.mitchell@dca.nj.gov). 

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Budget Appropriations for Volunteer Fire Companies & Districts - 03/07/2017

Generally, N.J.S.A. 40A:14-34 limits the amount a municipality can annually appropriate for use by its volunteer fire companies or boards of fire commissioners to $150,000.  The Director is required to adjust this amount for inflation every two years in accordance with the Cost-of-Living Adjustment promulgated for the 1977 cap law (N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.1a).  Effective for CY2017/SFY2018 and CY2018/SFY2019 municipal budgets, a COLA adjustment of one-half percent (.5%) has been applied to adjust the annual maximum contribution to $150,750.  Local Finance Notice 2017-06 has further information concerning municipal budget appropriations for volunteer fire companies and fire districts.

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Updated: 09/14/2020