TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew that would streamline the Division of Local Government Services to maximize effectiveness and efficiency was signed into law yesterday.
The law (S-2454/A-3791), designated as the Division of Local Government Services Modernization and Local Mandate Relief Act of 2015, streamlines the responsibilities of the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) by eliminating several responsibilities and reorganizing the DLGS in the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). It also eliminates or revises several mandates on local governments.
“Every year, we have new laws and mandates that can be burdensome on local governments and difficult for the Division of Local Government Services to implement. We are living in times of tight budgets and limited resources so we need to be efficient and effective,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “We also have to eliminate duplication in government. Streamlining the DLGS and local government will increase efficiency, create more accountability and will simply allow local governments to return to their primary goals of fiscal responsibility.”
The DLGS and Local Finance Board (LFB) were created in the early 1900s with a mission to protect against local government insolvencies and defaults. Over time, however, the statutory framework under which the Division and Board operate – in conjunction with modern staffing reductions – has hindered the ability of the division to continue to successfully perform its core functions. The unfortunate result is a division of local government that has outdated mandates and a reduction in effectiveness and efficiency of services. This streamlining will help change that, Senator Van Drew said.
Over the past 30 years, the statutory mission and responsibilities of these two agencies has grown in a manner that is unsustainable. While the introduction of new laws and statutory enactments has increased the responsibilities of the DLGS exponentially, the staffing required has declined significantly over the past decades.
“Revisions to the current policies were necessary to bring long-needed relief to the DLGS and will allow for more effective operations of local government,” added Senator Van Drew.
The bill cleared the Senate with a vote of 39-0 and the Assembly with a vote of 76-0. The law takes effect immediately.