Measures Would Help Improve Livability of NJ Communities
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill to help improve the livability and affordability of New Jersey communities for aging adults was approved yesterday by the Senate. The bill, to allow towns and cities to create a Senior Citizen Priority Parking Program, is part of a bill package designed to help seniors age in place and stems from a series of meetings Senator Gill held with seniors in her legislative district.
“It is our responsibility to ensure our residents are able to age in place and to maintain the quality of life they deserve,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “To do that, we have to make sure our communities offer an affordable and safe environment that allows them to live healthy and active lifestyles. Allowing towns and cities to implement a senior parking program is just one of the ways we can improve our communities and make it easier for seniors to stay in them as they age.”
Research has shown that older adults prefer to stay in their home and communities as they age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Age-friendly housing, transportation, social and employment opportunities are vital to promoting and supporting the well-being of aging residents, the agency reports.
The legislation (S2523) approved yesterday, by a vote of 34-0, would permit towns, cities and parking authorities to create a parking program to offer reduced cost and designated parking to seniors. Under a Senior Citizen Priority Parking Program authorized by a municipality or parking authority, seniors could receive reduced rate parking permits and program-restricted parking spaces.
Also included in the senator’s bill package is legislation (S2524) to help ease the property tax burden for seniors by allowing municipalities to create a program permitting residents age 60 or older to perform volunteer services for the municipality in which they live in return for property tax vouchers. The “Municipal Volunteer Property Tax Reduction Act” is modeled after a program in Lenox, Mass., and would allow seniors to receive vouchers for up to $1,000 of their property tax burden in the year the volunteer work is conducted. The bill passed the Senate 35-1 in October, and has been sent to the Assembly. A third bill (S2521) would create the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Council to review, analyze and report on a number of issues related to pedestrian and bicycle safety, including the type of motor vehicle violations that are contributing factors in accidents and possible legislative and regulatory solutions. The bill passed the Senate 37-0 in October, and has been sent to the Assembly.
“This bill package seeks to improve the ability of seniors to continue to live for many years in their communities,” said Senator Gill. “I thank the Montclair Senior Citizens Advisory Committee for providing input on all of these issues, which led to the development of the bills. I look forward to continuing our work together in order to advance these important measures.”
S2523 was approved by the Assembly last week by a vote of 62-0. It now goes to the governor’s desk.