New bill reauthorizes regional contribution agreements for Sandy affected counties
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon will introduce new legislation tomorrow that reauthorizes regional contribution agreements (RCAs) between towns in the nine most Superstorm Sandy-impacted counties. These agreements will permit the transfer of housing units to count towards a recipient municipality’s fair share obligation. These types of agreements were originally permitted under the Coalition On Affordable Housing where one town could transfer a portion of its affordable housing obligation to another. RCAs were banned in 2008.
“I’ve always said that the law banning RCAs was shortsighted,” explained O’Scanlon. “I want to go on record saying I disagree with this far reaching court-mandated housing scheme. But if we have to have it, there should be a mix of options for municipalities to deal with it. “Mayor John Hornik of Marlboro recently revived the discussion of RCAs in relation to those areas affected by Sandy. We have seized on that common ground and developed legislation reauthorizing RCAs to help facilitate the construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation of housing in areas hardest hit by Sandy. We can finally put these funds to work creating affordable housing and helping towns recover from the storm at the same time. I look forward to working with Mayor Hornik on this as we work to persuade the legislative leadership to join the effort.”
“Thousands of households throughout New Jersey remain displaced and federal resources alone will be inadequate to meet the need for repaired or new housing,” stated Marlboro Mayor John Hornik. “The impact has been particularly hard-felt by low and moderate income households. Shortly after Sandy, I proposed that emergency legislation be enacted to allow municipalities to assist their sister communities in meeting this pressing housing need by allowing the use of affordable housing trust funds. Assemblyman O’Scanlon has now proposed legislation to allow towns to use trust funds to aid Sandy affected municipalities within their housing region to repair or create low and moderate income housing. Marlboro applauds the efforts of our lawmakers and urges the full Legislature to promptly act upon this measure. “
This bill provides that a municipality seeking to send units does not need to enter into an RCA with another receiving municipality within the same housing region prior to seeking a recipient through the Council on Affordable Housing. Additionally, the bill provides that a receiving municipality shall be permitted to count units accepted as part of an RCA toward its fair share housing obligation.
“Many of us felt that the termination of the RCA program was il-advised,” O’Scanlon said. “The flawed rationale behind the elimination of the RCA program is now highlighted by the plight of Sandy victims as many towns struggle with the economic burden of rebuilding. It is my hope that this bill, when signed into law, can ease the burden of those still wrestling with the devastating effects of Sandy.”
The Middletown Township Committee voted unanimously on April 23rd on a resolution offered by Committeeman Tony Fiore urging the legislature to pass such legislation.