TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner welcomed committee approval today of her legislation that would create a down-payment assistance program for teachers, police officers, firefighters and sanitation workers employed by an Abbott district who purchase a home within that district.
“The salaries of police officers, teachers, firefighters and sanitation workers comprise a significant part of our Abbott districts’ budgets,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “We should encourage those individuals to live within the municipality they serve and become an active participant in the city’s revitalization efforts.”
The bill, S-1395, would establish a program, administered by the NJ Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency, to encourage qualified police officers, firefighters, public school teachers and sanitation workers to purchase residential property in Abbott districts in which such persons are employed. Assistance would be in the form of zero percent interest rate second mortgage loans of $10,000 to be used for down payment and closing costs in conjunction with the purchase of single family or two family homes and condominium units.
“We invest a great deal of money in our Abbott communities each year, yet we often see these dollars leave the city as soon as they arrive. By keeping people employed by the district living in the town, Abbott school aid will be far more effective in rejuvenating the community. This program will lead to more of these Abbott dollars staying in the district, either through property taxes or support of local businesses,” explained Senator Turner.
This bill would require the qualified applicant to maintain primary residence at that home for at least five years as a condition of receipt of the program assistance. This bill would appropriate $5 million from the General Fund to be administered by the NJHMFA.
“The benefits of this bill to go beyond the financial and will ultimately make our communities safer and more stabile. Criminals will be less likely to strike when there is a local police officer living in the neighborhood and law-abiding citizens will feel safer knowing that the people who patrol the streets during the day are just down the street at night,” added Senator Turner.
The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 3-1. It now goes to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for their approval.