Vaults Emerging as Answer to New Jersey’s Tank Dilemma

Thousands of New Jersey businesses need to store petroleum products at their facilities, whether for heating, to fuel vehicles, for emergency generators, or a dozen other pressing needs. Today there are estimated to be in excess of 80,000 regulated commercial tanks in New Jersey alone. Most are underground, some above ground and, recently, some combining the best of both methods, the concrete vaulted tanks. In this article I will take a look at each approach for its strengths, weaknesses and cost factors.

UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS (USTs)

Historically, petroleum storage was literally driven underground by a variety of concerns centered around fire safety. Because of these concerns, and the regulations they spawned, the overwhelming majority of storage tanks in use today are underground tanks.

In the past five years the federal EPA and State Departments of Environmental Protection and Energy (DEPE) have formulated new construction criteria for both the installation of new tanks and the required upgrade of existing tanks.

With scheduled deadlines for these tank upgrades quickly approaching, tank owners are faced with some difficult economic decisions. The cost for tank and piping upgrades starts at $10,000, and, in most cases, retrofitting an existing steel underground storage tank is a short-sighted and expensive undertaking. Due to variable water tables and the predominance of clay and silt soils, both vapor monitoring and continuous groundwater monitoring are impractical, if not impossible, and in all cases will only alert a tank owner of a leak after the damage has occurred.

With these concerns complicating the upgrade, the most effective solution, if we stay with conventional underground storage, is often complete replacement of a given storage tank system This then expands the price range of a standard 2,000 gallon tank job to a minimum of $20,000. (triple this number for a 12,000 gallon tank).*

In addition to these basic construction costs, there are significant costs associated with simply maintaining and operating underground tanks. These expenses must also be considered when we evaluate the total project cost. For purposes of comparison, let’s look at these costs over a 10-year period of 12,000 gallon UST ownership in the State of New Jersey.

Right up front, we have the NJ DEPE’s registration requirement which commands a SI00 annual fee. While fees may certainly change from year to year, it is a safe bet they will not decrease. Over a 10-year period, this adds minimally SI000 to the cost of the project.

Then there is the cost of insurance. The NJ DEPE technical requirements N.J.S.A. 58:10A, effective 9/90, lay the groundwork for UST owners to carry their own insurance against leaks and discharges. Chapter 14 of this regulation, which has not yet been released, spells out the specifics of such insurance. When the insurance industry completes its research on the risks associated with UST insurance and prepares a product to cover UST owners, it appears likely that such coverage may be mandatory – another significant operating cost.

Currently, contractors’ pollution liability insurance is available, and many installation firms carry it. When a firm which performs 20 sizable installations in one year pays S50,000 for the pollution liability portion of its insurance program, it follows that each installation will be expected to carry a prorated share of the burden. Or $2500.**

Annual testing of the tank’s anticorrosive protection system is another cost which must be added to the equation. A $400 yearly maintenance/service contract which includes an inspection of the protective system and periodic water pumpouts is a necessary investment and adds S4000 to the long-term operating costs of our new UST.

Finally, as with any long-term ownership of a capital item – especially one with delicate electronic monitor sensors and controllers – we must look at the devalued worth of the item after wear and tear, obsoletion, and depreciation. This loss must be figured into our equation as well.

Adding all these factors together, the total cost of our hypothetical 10-year UST ownership, including the initial system construction, amounts to approximately $90,000.

Certainly, there must be less expensive options.

ABOVE-GROUND STORAGE TANKS (ASTs)

Above-ground storage tanks have been around for some time and are commonly used for fuel storage. Their applications vary from the small 275 gallon free-standing residential basement tanks to massive compounded field-erected storage silos.

ASTs are currently receiving much attention and interest. They are completely exempt from NJ DEPE requirements, including requirements for registration and insurance. This freedom from restriction coupled with relative ease of AST installation, reduces the ten-year cost of ownership to one half that of a comparable UST.

There are however, drawbacks to the ASTs as well.

First, to safeguard the tank area in the event of an overfill or a rupture of some sort, the AST should be diked or placed inside a second tank system. Second, an open dike can fill with rain water and possibly rust from the inside out. Third, exposure to the elements will accelerate corrosion of the tank as well as the dike.

A brush-blasted white epoxy-painted. Diked AST with either a shed roof or rainshields is the state of the art in ASTs, but the fact remains that the unsightliness of the tank, plus its size, can be a major drawback.

For the storage of gasoline there is a potential vapor hazard with ASTS. Because of this, they are prohibited by NFPA 30 in some situations. The effects of cold temperatures on the viscosity of fuels must also be addressed. Often, this requires the installation of steam coils or electric heaters.

But the largest drawback for the application of ASTs over USTs is the zoning hurdle.

USTs are exempt from BOCA codes while any above-ground construction over 100-foot square must obtain site plan approval in most communities. If the ownership is corporate, such approval must be presented by legal counsel. This process involves public hearings with mandatory notice to neighbors within 200 feet of the property line. Unsightliness of the AST may become a minor sticking point as more significant concerns such as environmental impact and overall nature of the owner’s operation come under the scrutiny of often hostile neighbors.

The process of gaining AST approval can become quite costly, bringing the upper end of costs plus maintenance of our 12.000-gallon project to $55,000. This, of course, is all contingent upon actually winning a zoning board’s resolution allowing the project to proceed.

VAULTED STORAGE TANK SYSTEMS (VSTs)

It is my premise that the vaulted storage tank system, our third tank alternative, offers a combination of the best features of USTs and ASTs. In VSTs, the primary tank is completely surrounded by an impermeable concrete enclosure. Designed in such a way that the primary tank is completely inspectable, VSTs are exempt from DEPE registration and regulation, yet they can be installed below grade and are therefore exempt from municipal planning board and zoning approval. And finally, when all the long-term operating costs are factored in, VSTs can be installed at a significantly lower cost than conventional USTs.

Historically, VSTs have been around for a long time in the form of burial vaults, septic tanks, and meter pits. More recent applications include optical tele¬communication link pits, where accessibility, security and thermal isolation are all important considerations.

Design advantages inherent to VSTs are as follows:

  • Structural strength – a concrete exoskeleton protects the primary tank from corrosion, deflection, thermal stress, ballistics and ground movement.
  • Thermal isolation – the reinforced concrete vault is typically 6″-8″ thick, thus providing protection from temperature extremes. Vaults come with a minimum two-hour fire rating.
  • Accessibility – the primary tank is completely accessible, thus simplifying piping modifications, tank cleaning, and annual inspections or audits.

Installation advantages of VSTs are as follows:

  • Whether below grade, at grade or above grade, configuration is identical, requiring no engineering modification.
  • Anchor systems are unnecessary for VSTs where conditions would require anchoring of conventional USTs. VSTs are massive enough to overcome buoyancy problems.
  • The vault can sit directly on the earth or gravel surfaces, thus minimizing surface preparation requirements.
  • VST installations are exempt from OS HA shoring requirements. VSTs can be crane-lifted directly into machine-prepared excavation, so there is no need for personnel to work at the bottom of an excavation.
  • There is no need for a concrete overlay as the vault roof can also serve as a surface pad. Where vehicle traffic must pass over the top of the vault, extra thick, reinforced vault lids are available.
  • There are also significant maintenance advantages for VSTs inherent to the design and the accessibility of the primary tank. Electro-mechanical repairs are simpler as all conduits and pipes are exposed. Another advantage is that the precast concrete lid has much greater uniformity and strength than a conventionally poured surface pad. Forces that crack and heave surface pads are inconsequential to VST systems.

Finally for our 12,000-gallon tank example there is the economic consideration. With an installed price of 570,000, the VST does require a larger initial investment than a conventional UST; however, the operating costs over 10 years are limited only to painting and inspecting the primary tank with a budgeted price of $2500.

SUMMARY

From our hypothetical 10-year comparisons, it is clear that the cost of owning a VST, at $72,500, is considerably less than that for a conventional UST, at S90.000. And in comparison to the troublesome AST, the VST offers a clear-cut, value-added alternative.

* For comparison purposes, throughout this article tank attachments will remain constant and include the following: full¬blown inventory control monitor and leak detection system with printer, overfill prevention and spill containment, double walled product line piping and piping sumps outfitted with leak sensors.

** This figure has been verified by Hal Melcher, UVW Associates, Somerset, NJ, with some restrictions.

Ten Little Known Facts About the Vacation Hot Spot of Wildwood, New Jersey

Long known as one of the top vacation destinations on the East Coast, Wildwood, New Jersey has a great number of attractions and activities that continue to satisfy and please visitors year in and year out. The city was founded in the late 1800s and almost immediately became a popular tourist destination. With its numerous hotels, many still showing their original doo-wop style of architecture, and the famous boardwalk, Wildwood is definitely outfitted with not only the normal trappings one would find in a beach front resort community, but also the extra things that make a vacation truly special. Here are ten little known facts about Wildwood, New Jersey.

1. Morey's Piers is one of the most famous attractions in the city of Wildwood. It features more than one hundred amusement park rides and attractions including roller coasters, the tallest Ferris wheel on the east coast and more.

2. Since 1970, the area has hosted the annually New Jersey State Fireman's Convention.

3. Before being incorporated as a city in 1912, the area that is now known as Wildwood was a New Jersey borough known as Holly Beach City.

4. The community's high school athletic teams are known as the Wildwood Warriors.

5. Wildwood's famous boardwalk has an equally famous tram car that runs its entire length joining the community with North Wildwood. The Tramcar, as it is known, is a trackless train that was first established in the early 1950s.

6. The boardwalk that stretches along the city's ocean coast is home to a chapel that holds nightly services that are open to any and all travelers to the area all summer long.

7. Pop singer Bobby Rydell sings a song titled Wildwood Days which is about the community.

8. The off season population of the city is a little over 5,000 permanent residents, during the summer months it is not uncommon for well over 200,000 people to fill the it.

9. Wildwood's claim as the birthplace of rock and roll comes from it being the first place where Bill Haley & His Comets performed what is widely thought of to be the first rock and roll song, Rock Around the Clock. This happened over Memorial Day weekend in 1954 at the HofBrau Hotel.

10. One of the largest and most famous Ultimate Frisbee beach tournaments is held every year on the waterfront of Wildwood, New Jersey.

With just one visit to this Atlantic Ocean community, it is easy to see why Wildwood has maintained its high level of popularity with vacationers for more than one hundred years. The city offers a great mix of nostalgia, as well as modern tourist attractions and features, in a way that will certainly satisfy anyone lucky enough to plan a trip there in the near future. Wildwood, New Jersey is truly one of the Northeast's true vacation treasures.

How to Plan Your New Jersey Civil Union Ceremony

After thousands rallied both for and against same-sex marriages, same-sex couples in New Jersey can now legally form "civil unions" as of February 19, 2007. This measure was a step in the direction of gay nuptials. Gay-marriage supporters expressed muted happiness, having hoped for more, yet were pleased to have legislation that begins to extend equality to same-sex couples. For now, civil unions are considered by legislature as a reasonable compromise.

A New Jersey civil union ceremony is very similar to many other kinds of weddings ceremonies. Your New Jersey civil union ceremony may be religious or secular, formal and traditional, or contemporary and unstructured. The makeup of the ceremony will depend on the wedding officiant, house-of-worship, wedding venue, and the couple's own preferences. All couples in New Jersey must follow the procedures for getting a New Jersey marriage license, and anyone who can officiate an opposite-sex marriage, can also officiate a same-sex marriage.

Below are some things to consider when planning your New Jersey civil union ceremony:

o The Greeting
Your New Jersey wedding officiant will welcome your guests to your celebration of love. Your officiant can also say a few words about your relationship, or about marriage / commitment in general.

o Your Ceremony and Vows
You will want to decide if you and your partner desire a religious or nonreligious ceremony. As in any type of wedding, the ceremony and vows can be as personal or standard depending on your preference. During the vows, the couple declares their intention to be a committed couple. This is your opportunity to make promises about what this means to you both by individually writing your own vows.

o The Readings and Music
Many wedding officiants have a standard set of music and readings that are often used at commitment ceremonies. A religious commitment ceremony will most likely incorporate hymns and scripture readings that focus on love. A secular civil union ceremony will usually also include readings, music, and songs about love: including poems, passes of literature, famous quotes, personal writing, and classic or pop music. It may be gay / lesbian / transgender focused or very general, depending on your personal preference.

o The Ring Exchange
The couple exchanges rings, and the wedding officiant says a few words about the symbolism of what these rings mean. You can craft your perfect ceremony together with your officiant.

o Pronouncement of Marriage
Your wedding officiant will announce to your guests that you are now united / joined / wed, whatever word you prefer to say. Then the officiant invites the two of you to seal your vows with a kiss. Some couples may not be used to kissing in public, and then decide to keep it a short kiss, or forgo this part altar. Others will relish the moment to have the opportunity to kiss each other in front of their loved ones, proclaiming their love, and gratitude in having that love.

o The Reception
Couples will most often follow the civil union ceremony with a reception celebration of some kind. As with all weddings, there are no rules as to what this should be. Of course, the location of your ceremony should be a special place for both you and your partner. Nowadays with high gas prices, you may want to consider choosing a central location for all of your guests. Also, make sure the venue of choice is gay-friendly. Call ahead to make sure the venue you choose is comfortable hosting a same-sex ceremony. You can have your reception be very elegant and traditional, or as casual as a backyard barbecue. It may include traditional wedding elements such as the first dance, the cutting of the cake, and the bouquet toss, or it may be an unstructured party event. Whatever you decide, it would be a good idea to have your invitation give some clues as to what will be expected. For example, you can write, "Please join us after the ceremony to toast the happy couple," or, "A reception at the Country Club will immediately follow the ceremony."

Three Property Tax Policy Options For New Jersey

Here are three property tax policy options for New Jersey citizens and government leader to consider. They are presented in an easy to read format; previously the statement of a problem that property taxpayer's face in New Jersey, followed by a policy option and its principal pro and con argument.

PROBLEM: TAXPAYERS HAVE NO CONTROL OVER HIGH PROPERTY TAXES THAT CAN LEAD TO HOME FORECLOSURE AND THE NUMBER OF HOMES FORECLOSED DUE TO FAILURE TO PAY PROPERTY TAXES IS UNKNOWN.

POLICY OPTION: Introduce a bill directing the Superior Court to require that foreclosure complaints contain a statement as to whether the property subject to tax lien foreclosure was residential and if the property was owned by a senior citizen or permanently and totally disabled person.

Pro: The amount of the number of tax lien foreclosure collections on residential properties, particularly those of senior citizens and disabled, could be counted to promote the idea of ​​a moritorium on home property property tax forelosures.

Con: Additional work would be required of municipal governments and third party tax lien holders in the filing of a foreclosure complaint statement.

PROBLEM: OFTEN PROPERTY TAXPAYERS ASSERT THAT THE LOCAL PROPERTY TAX SHOULD NOT BE USED TO FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION, WHILE ALSO BEING OPPOSED TO NEW STATE TAXES OR LOSS OF STATE SERVICES.

POLICY OPTION: Introduce a concurrent resolution proposing an amendment to Article VIII, Section I of the New Jersey State Constitution to permit, through a voter recourse process, the local voters of a school district, to replace real property taxes imposed for school purposes with a local tax on the income of individuals, estates, trusts, corporations and unincorporated businesses. The income tax rates authorized would be within the income tax limits established in the local referendum question and would be collected on behalf of school districts by the State. The authority to levy a tax on real property would be reserved solely for the purpose of providing security for any debt lawfully incurred, to protect the borrowing capacity of the school district.

Pro: A tax on income rather than on real property eliminates the regressive nature of the accident of the property tax for school purposes and establishes tax liabilities for school purposes not by real property values ​​in the market place, but by money income — a truer measure of wealth and ability to pay.

Con: This amendment represents a fundamental change in the measure of wealth and the consequent assumed ability to pay taxes for public schools and as such could cause valuation disruption in the established real estate market. Also, such a tax system has the potential for wide fluctuations in the taxable income base (income is mobile and property is not) that could necessitate large cuts in school services or steep income tax rate increases.

PROBLEM: LOCAL PROPERTY TAXPAYERS HAVE NO INFORMATION ON THEIR PROPERTY TAX BILL WITH WHICH TO EVALUATE MUNICIPAL, COUNTY AND SCHOOL SPENDING, SUPPORTED WITH STATE AND LOCAL TAXES, AND ITS TAX RATE IMPACT ON THEIR PROPERTY'S VALUE.

POLICY OPTION: Introduce a bill requiring each municipal tax collector to include in the annual mailing of individual tax bills each year tax year a statement containing a tabulation in a columnar format with explanatory information of the effect of State aid on local tax rates by purpose of tax based on a report sent to each tax collector by the State Treasurer.

Pro: This bill would enable each property taxpayer to determine the effect State aid amounts have on reducing his or her local property tax rates by purpose of tax.

Con: Municipalities may complain that this states a State mandated cost that should be paid for by the State.

10 Cool Things To See On New Jersey Trails With Your Dog

"If your dog is fat," the old saying goes, "you are not getting enough exercise." But walking the dog need not be just about a little exercise. Here are 10 cool things you can see in New Jersey while out walking the dog.

GLACIAL ERRATICS

Pyramid Mountain is best known for its glacial erratics – boulders that were sprinkled across the landscape by retreating ice sheets from the last Ice Age. The most famous is Tripod Rock, a boulder various estimated at between 150 and 200 tons, that is suspended heroically off the ground by three smaller stones. Nearby notable neighbors include two massive monoliths: Whale Head Rock and Bear Rock, that with a little imagination does not resemble a recumbent bear. A short detour from the summit of the Tourne leads to a gravity defying glacial erratic called Nouse Cradle Balancing Rock. Clarence DeCamp named it in 1897 when he discovered a mouse nest in a nook in the rock. The 54-ton boulder is balanced on two points of a ledge rock and a hidden wedge stone.

PREHISTORIC BONES

At the Ghost Lake parking lot on Shades of Death Road in Jenny Jump Forest you can take your dog along a short, rocky trail along the lakeshore to a steep rocky slope. Here you will find a cave known as Faery Hole. The cave room has a flat floor and enough headroom for a Great Dane to stand on two legs. The opening was excavated in the 1930s by state archaeologist Dorothy Cross who recovered thousands of mammal bones, including the tooth of a long-extinct giant beaver. In Haddonfield, in the north end of the borough, is the heavily wooded Pennypacker Park where dinosaur bones were discovered in 1838 in a steep ravine carved by the Cooper River. When a full excavation was initiated by William Parker Foulke in 1858 nearly 50 bones of a plant-eating, duck-billed dinosaur were discovered. Haddonfield was suddenly famous as the site of the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found. A small memorial marks the spot where Hadrosaurus Foulkii was unearthed at the end of Maple Street.

CAPE MAY DIAMONDS

The beach next door to Higbee Beach WMA is the similarly dog-friendly Sunset Beach, famous for its Cape May Diamonds. The "diamonds" are actually pieces of quartz crystals that have been eroded from the Upper Delaware River and been polished by a 200-mile journey of churning and jostling that can last a millennium or two. The stones, that can be cut and faceted to do a passable imitation of a diamond, are found in abundance here because the tidal flow bounces off a unique concrete ship that rests offshore. The Atlantus was built to transport soldiers during steel-short World War I. The reinforced-concrete ship worked but the recovery of post-war steel supplies made her obsolete and the Atlantus was being towed to Cape May to serve as a ferry slip when an accident dumped her on a sand bar where she remains today.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR RELICS

The trails at Morristown National Historic Park lead directly into reconstructed Revolutionary-era huts that you can explore with your dog. How many dogs do you reckon got the luxury of staying inside these huts in 1777 when more than a dozen soldiers huddled inside?

LOST UTOPIAN COMMUNITIES

In 1845, Daniel Felt founded Feltville as a small company village for workers of his specialty paper business, Stationer's Hall. Felt's "marbleized" paper was often used for book end covers. He created his town in the Utopian image of social reform that was popular in America in the mid-19th century. He constructed the buildings in a trendy Greek Revival-style. In 1882 Feltville became a middle class resort called Glenside, and the cottages were remodeled like rustic Adirondack cabins. By 1916 the resort was in decline as automobiles carried city vacationers well beyond the Watchung Mountains. The "Deserted Village" stands today and will be encountered on the Sierra Trail in Watchung Reservation.

UNIQUE MEMORIALS

Emilio Carranza Rodriguez was nephew to the founder of the Mexican Air Force, a war hero and his country's greatest aviator. He befriended Charles Lindbergh after the American completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic and then made the second longest non-stop flight from Washington DC to Mexico City. Plans were hatched in 1928 for a Mexican capital-to-capital flight. Carranza, then just 22 years old, was selected to make the attempt, carrying the pride of an entire nation in his plane, "The Excelsior." Haunted by bad weather Carranza was forced to navigate by dead reckoning and came down in an emergency landing in North Carolina. He continued on to Washington and New York City, where he was feted as a hero for accomplishing the longest flight ever made by a Mexican aviator. Preparations for a return flight to Mexico City were continuously delayed until Carranza could wait no longer. On the evening of July 12 he took off in an electrical storm and was never seen alive again. The next day his body was found near the wreckage of his plane, "The Excelsior," in the Pine Barrens where he crashed. Mexican schools collected pennies to pay for the stone monument on the Batona Trail that marks the location of his death. Post 11 of the American Legion from Mount Holly, whose members participated in the recovery of the body, still held a memorial service every year on the second Saturday of July at 1:00 pm to honor the memory of Captain Emilio Carranza.

CARNIVEROUS PLANTS

The prime attraction of the interior Cedar Trail Loop in Shark River Park is an Atlantic White Cedar bog where you can chance to see a carnivorous pitcher plant. The nutrient-challenged bog does not provide enough sustenance for these ewer-shaped plants so they must lure insects into a deadly trap for consumption by a cocktail of digestive fluids in the pitcher. Tiny hairs pointing down prevent the trapped insects from crawling out to freedom.

CRANBERRY BOGS

The cranberry is a native American fruit that was harvested naturally in the Pine Barrens for centuries. Commercial production began around 1835 in New Jersey and today only Massachusetts and Michigan grow more cranberries, named because its flower resembles a neck neck. The restored cranberry sorting and packing house at Double Trouble Park is the finest of its kind from the 19th century. The bogs are still producing and if you come in the fall you can see thousands of the buoyant berries bobbing on the surface; at other times of the year you will have to make do with looking at a few harvest escapees washing against the shoreline.

CLASSIC DUTCH ARCHITECTURE

Holmdel Park is an excellent place to study Dutch architecture from the earliest days of European settlement in central New Jersey. At Longstreet Farm is the oldest Dutch barn in Monmouth County. Dating to 1792, the barn is immediately recognized as Dutch by the high wagon doors placed in each end of the gables that slope near the ground. Surrounded by the park, but not in it, the Holmes-Hendrickson House is snuggled in a grove of trees. The red frame house was built in 1754 by william Holmes, who ignored the trendy trend of symmetrical Georgian house-building in favor of his traditional Dutch design.

OLD MINES

The landscape has been churned up form the mining operations at Mount Hope Historical Park bringing the minerals from the earth and leaving them on the surface. You can still find pieces of magnetite iron ore on the trails; look for small black stones with angular shapes that feel heavier than normal rocks.

Christmas Tree Farms In New Jersey

Visiting a Christmas tree farm and buying a live tree grown in New Jersey can be a memorable holiday experience for the entire family? The process can be any where from an hour to a good part of the day, depending on what you and your family wants to gain from the experience.

The choices for selecting a New Jersey grown live tree are many. You can choose to cut your own tree, or pick a live tree and have it cut for you, or buy a live tree already cut, or buy a living tree you can plant.

To extend the experience to a family fun event, you can venture off to a Christmas tree farm that offers sleigh rides, hay rides and related winter events and fun.

A fresh-cut Christmas tree not only will bring warmth, beauty and the rich scents of the season to your home, but also will last through the holidays if given proper care.

Christmas trees are a renewable resource. They are grown as a crop; planted, sheared, and cultivated to be harvested for your enjoyment! Where each tree is cut, a new seedling will be planted. Christmas tree farms not only provide beautiful greenbelts through New Jersey, they also are environmentally sound. They consume huge amounts of carbon dioxide and reintroduce large quantities of oxygen into the atmosphere, so cleansing the air that we breathe. One acre of Christmas trees produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people.

The selection of a live Christmas tree

When choosing a tree, select one that best suits your needs. Determine where will it be located in the home, and what type of ornaments you have – are they heavy or light? These considerations will help you select the species, the height, shape and density. Amongst the variety of species of Christmas trees grown in New Jersey, the best choices for needle retention are all the pines; Austrian, Scotch, White and Mexican Border. The Douglas-fir, Concolor, and Fraser Fir are also excellent. The Colorado Blue Spruce is very good, and the Norway and White Spruces are fair.

It is difficult to gauge the height of trees in the field. Check with the Christmas tree farm, they typically have measuring sticks available. Even though you can not cut your tree exactly even with the ground and you will need to cut an additional bit off the bottom of your tree when you get home, your stand will add about four inches and your top piece another four inches to the final height of your tree. Therefore, it is recommended that you choose a tree that is somewhat shorter than the height of your ceiling.

The Care of the live Christmas tree

With a few simple steps, you can enjoy your tree through the holiday season!

A fresh cut tree, brought home in advance of bringing it indoors for decorating, should be placed in a container of water, in a cool shaded area, sheltered from the wind. If kept outside, make sure the water supply does not freeze. Before bringing it indoors, cut off an inch from the butt end. This fresh cut will enable the tree to soak up water. Put the tree in a stand, which can hold one to two gallons of water. Since fresh cut trees absorb a pint to a quart of water each day, check water level at least once daily and always keep water level above the cut end. Always keep the butt of the tree in water. If it has been out of water for more than a few hours, the sap will seal the cut trunk and it will no longer absorb water. Keeping a tree stand filled with water will prevent needle drop and prolong the tree's freshness and color.

Select a location inside your home that is not too close to a fireplace, heat duct or radiator. Place tree in tree stand with plastic netting on. This makes it easier to move and straighten tree. Netting can be removed once the tree is set up.

The tree will take a couple of hours to return to its natural shape once the netting is removed. Fill the stand with water. On the initial fill, warm or hot water is beneficial.

The care and planting of a balled & burlapped tree.

If you have selected a bounced or burlapped (dug) Christmas tree, several days prior to being bought indoors, it needs to be placed in an unheated, protected enclosure (utility building, garage, carport, foundation) or on the northeast side of the house. This condition process adjusts the tree to the effects of rapid temperature and humidity changes that occur indoors. Before bringing the tree indoors, place it in a washtub or similar waterproof container. To help stabilize it, sand or gravel may be filled in around the root ball. Keep root ball moist; approximately a pint to a quarter of water, daily, will sustain a 5 to 6 ft. tree. Ideally, it's best to keep a dug tree in a 65 to 68 degree indoor environment and for no longer than seven days.

After tree is dismantled, do not bring it directly outdoors. If possible, gradually introduce it to the colder temperature by first placing it in a sheltered area, for several days. The hole, where the tree is to be planted, should be dug to an approximate depth of 18 inches, prior to the ground freezing and the soil from within placed where it can not freeze. Fill the hole with leaves and cover it with plastic. Do not remove the burlap and strapping, before planting. After tree has been positioned (top of root ball should be even with original soil grade), fill hole halfway – with saved soil, cut strapping, roll down burlap and complete filling hole. A plastic covered root ball is handled in the same manner, except that before planting, slits should be cut in the plastic's bottom half – this facilitates water drain and root penetration. Water thoroughly and mulch.

Disposal and recycling your Christmas tree.
The disposal and recycling of Christmas trees can be coordinated with your local Municipal Government, who usually offer recycling programs. The trees are chipped into mulch and made available free of charge to homeowners. These trees may also be placed in your yard, where birds can make use of them either as a winter shelter or as a feeding station, if food is hung from the branches.

A Christmas tree is biodegradable, it's branches may be removed and used as mulch in the garden. For proper Christmas tree disposal, check with your local municipality.

Listing of New Jersey Christmas tree farms

Provided below is a listing of popular Christmas tree farms in New Jersey. While this listing is reasonably up to date as of this writing, last minute weather and business conditions at a tree farm may change and it is strongly recommended that you call the farm in advance to confirm their supply, their hours of operation, and whether they are continuing to allow choose-and-cut or just precut trees. Do not drive out there if you can not reach them by phone!

Augusta

Holiday Tree Farm, Augusta
973-948-7488 … 44 Augusta Hill Rd … Route 80 West to Exit 34B. Rte. 15 North to intersection with Rte. 206 at Ross' Corner / Skyland Park. Straight on Rte. 206N to first left onto Augusta Hill Road. Farm is m mi. on left.
Species … 2,500 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Douglas-fir, Canaan Fir Belvidere

Wyckoff's Tree Farm, Belvidere
908-475-4508 … 249 County Route 519 … I-80, exit 12 to Rte 521S to 519S (10 miles from Rte 80), I-78, exit 17 to Rte 31N to Rte 46W to Rte 519S ( mile marker 39). Species … 600 trees; Douglas-fir
Open … 8: 30-4 (daily), Nov. 24 – To be determined

Blairstown

Glenview Farm, Blairstown
908-362-6904 … 2 Glenview Lane … I-80 Exit 12 N. – Rte. 521 – 4 mi. to Blairstown, left on Rte. 94 – 1 mi. to Mohican Rd .; From Newton – Rte. 94 S. 12 mi. to Mohican Rd. 4 mi. – rt. on Gaisler Rd. – farm 1 mi.
Species … 500 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Douglas-fir, Concolor Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir Open … 9-5 (daily), Nov. 24 – Dec. 17

Jolly Holly Christmas Tree Farm, Blairstown
908-362-6327 … 56 Maple Lane … Exit 12 on Rte. 80 W to Blairstown. At traffic light, take Millbrook Rd up hill to Maple Lane. Left on Maple Lane. Farm is on left.
Species … 200 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Douglas-fir, Concolor Fir
Open … 12-4 (Sat & Sun), Nov. 25 – Dec. 17

Califon.

Alger Tree Farm, Califon
908-832-2298 … 7 Beacon Light Rd … From Rte. 78 exit 24 (Oldwick) 7 mi. N or Rte. 517. Turn left on Beacon Light Rd. to first house on left.
Species … 400 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Douglas-fir, Concolor Fir
Open … 8: 30-5 (Sat & Sun), Dec.. 2-24

Chesterfield (near Bordentown)

Spruce Goose Christmas Tree Farm, Chesterfield
609-298-2498 … 194 Bordentown-Georgetown Rd. (Rte. 545 S) … NJ Tpk. Exit 7 or I-295N Exit 57A, take Rte. 206 N. or Rte. 130 N towards Bordentown, 1st right onto Rte. 545 S. Proceed 4 mi. Farm on right. Or from intersection of Rtes. 537 & 545, take Rte. 545 N 3.5 mi. Farm on left. From McGuire AFB, take Rte. 680 W.
Species … 1,000 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Pine, Douglas-fir, Canaan Fir, Serbian Spruce, all Fraser Fir are pre-cut.
Open … 9-5 (daily), Nov. 24 – Dec. 24

Cranbury

Barclay's Tree Farm
35 Orchardside Drive, Cranbury, NJ 08512
609-799-1855; Hours: Weekends 9 am-5pm, Nov 27 – Dec 19
Directions: NJTpke Exit 8A, Rt 32 W to Rt 130, So on Rt 130 for 1.5 mi to light at Dey Rd. Right on Dey Rd. 1.5 mi to 1st right – Orchardside Dr. From Rt 1, East on Scudders Mill Rd 2 mi to left at 5th light onto Dey Rd. 2.3 mi to left onto Orchardside Dr.
Choose & Harvest: Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir, Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce
Features: One low price. Saws, netting, rope and assistance provided free.

Simonson Farms
Dey Road and George Davison Road, Cranbury, 609-799-0140
Hours: MF 12-7, Sat & Sun 9-6.
Directions: From NJ Tpk to Exit 8A. Bear right out of the tolls toward Rte. 535. At traffic light, turn left onto Rte. 535 S. Follow to third traffic light, and turn right onto Rte. 614 (Dey Rd.) West. Straight on 614W 1.9 mi. to U-cut field or 3 miles to retail lot.
Species: 3,000 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Spruce, White Pine, Douglas-fir, Concolor Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir
They currently have harvestable Douglas-fir, blue spruce, Norway spruce, white pine, Concolor fir, and Canaan fir. We have two farms where you can cut your own tree. One is located on George Davison road in Cranbury and the other on Dey Road in Cranbury. Trees in these fields are U-cut … that means you have the pleasure of cutting down your own tree. Saws are available if needed. They supply twelve and trees can be wrapped for ease of transport.

Cream Ridge

Bullock Farms, Cream Ridge
609-758-8726 … 83 Emleys Hill Rd … From I-195, Exit 16, take Rte. 537 W past Great Adventure. Make 2nd right onto Emleys Hill Rd. Approx. 1 m mi., Farm on right.
Species … 250 trees; Norway Spruce, White Pine, Douglas-fir
Open … 9-5 (Wed – Sun), Nov. 24 – Dec. 23 East Brunswick

Giamarese Farms, East Brunswick
732-821-9494 … 155 Fresh Pond Rd … From the New Brunswick Area – take Rte. 1 S to 2nd Milltown exit, which will be Main St.. Exit will loop over Rte. 1. Once on Main St., Milltown, count 3 traffic lights from Rte. 1. Make right onto Khulthau Ave, which is 3rd light. Go m mi to split in road. Bear rt. onto Fresh Pond Rd. Go about 2 mi. Farm on right on top of hill at # 155. Large sign in front.
Species … 300 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Spruce, Douglas-fir, Concolor Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir
Open … 10-5: 00 (Tue – Sun), Nov. 24 – Dec. 24 (closed Mondays

Farmingdale

Meadowview Farm, Farmingdale
732-938-7181 … 60 Birdsall Rd … m mi. south of Farmingdale on Rte. 524. Left on Birdsall Road. First farm on left.
Species … 200 trees; Norway Spruce, White Pine, Douglas-fir
Open … 9-4: 00 (Sat & Sun), Nov. 25 – Dec. 24

Flemington

Cherryville Farms
14 Joe Ent Road, Flemington, NJ 08822, 908-806-4580
Hours: Open 9:00 AM until dark, Saturdays & Sundays – starting Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Directions: Located one mile east of Quakertown on Route 616 (Quakertown Road) Franklin Township, Hunterdon County.
Species: Canaan Fir, Concolor Fir, Douglas Fir, Blue Spruce & Norway Spruce
Features: Tagging, saws & treewheelers available. Wreaths, Crafts & Refreshments Cut your own, or they'll cut it for you. —– Tagging, saws & treewheelers available
Wreaths, Crafts & Refreshments.

Hillsdale

Demarest Farms
244 Werimus Road, Hillsdale 201-666-0472
Christmas trees, wreaths, all Christmas related items, featuring Santa's Enchanted Woods as featured on Good Day New York

Lebanon

The Evergreen Farm, Lebanon
908-236-9550 … 4 Bass Lane … Rte. 78 W to Exit 20A (Lebanon). Turn right at first light onto Rte. 22 W. Turn left (jughandle) at first light (Round Valley). Go 3.3 mi. on Rte. 629 to Bass Lane OR Rte. 31 N from Flemington to Molasses Hill Rd. Take to end. Turn right onto Rte. 629 to Bass Lane.
Species … 500 trees; Blue Spruce, Douglas-fir, Concolor Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir
Open … 10-5 (Fri, Sat, Sun), Nov. 18 – Dec. 17. Closed Thanksgiving, but open for tagging by appt. Nov 1

Manalapan

Anne Ellen Christmas Tree Farm, Manalapan Twp.
732-786-9277 … 114 Daum Rd. Manalapan … Garden State Pkwy Exit 123, Rte. 9 S. to Gordon Corner Rd. exit. Right on Tennent (5.4 mi.) To Daum Rd. NJ Tpk Exit 8, Rte. 33 E (7.9 mi.) Left on Woodward Rd. (.4 mi). First left onto Daum Rd.
Species … 3,000 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Pine, Douglas-fir, Fraser Fir. Open … 9-8 (daily), Nov. 20 – Dec. 23

Robbinsville

McLaughlin Tree Farm, Robbinsville
609-259-8122 … 1312 Old York Road … Located on Rte. 539, 2.1 mi. north of Route I-195 (Exit 8). Across from Herbert Road. 3.5 mi north of Allentown and 4 mi. south of Hightstown. Easily accessible from Rtes. 195, 130 & NJ Turnpike via Exit 8.
Species … 1,000 trees; Douglas-fir, Canaan Fir, Scotch Pine
Open … 8-5 (Sat & Sun & by appt.) Nov. 25 – Dec. 24

Rosemont

Rosemont Tree Farm, Rosemont
609-397-1809 … Route 519 … From Flemington – Rte. 12 W to Rte. 523 right onto Rte. 604 to Rte. 519. Turn right onto Rte. 519. Farm 300 yards. From Trenton – Rte. 29N through Lambertville and Stockton. Right onto Rte. 519 1.5 mi. to farm.
Species … 1,000 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Pine, Canaan Fir, Scotch Pine Open … 9-4: 30 (Thu – Sun), Nov. 24 – Dec. 23

Sussex

Shale Hills Farm
98 Pond School Road, Sussex, 973-875-4231
Directions: At intersection of Rtes. 23 or 94 N.-take Rte. 23 N. – 1 1/2 mi. to Double S Diner on left – turn behind Diner on Pond School Rd. – 1.2 mi. to farm – sign.
Species: 700 trees; Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Scotch Pine, Douglas-fir
Hours: Open Weekends after Thanksgiving from 9:30 am until dark.

Trenton

Willard Christmas Tree Farms, Trenton
609-587-1776 … 300 Basin Rd … Rte. 1 to Bakers Basin Rd. (5 mi. South of I-295 overpass), 1 mi. to Basin Rd. on right. Farm 1 mi. on left.
Species … 1,000 trees; Blue Spruce, Douglas-fir, Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir
Open … 12-5 (Mon – Fri), 8-6 (Sat & Sun) Nov. 24 – Dec. 23 Enjoy a Hay wagon ride as you select your tree from our fields and cut it down yourself. We have available pre-cut trees that have been freshly cut from our fields. Christmas Trees we have available are Scotch Pine, White Pine, Douglas Fir, Norway, Colorado Blue and White Spruce. Also available are fresh dug balled and burlapped trees from our fields. You can enjoy indoors during the holiday season and then plant outdoors to enjoy for a lifetime. All farms carry roping, wreaths and greens for all your Holiday Decorating needs.

Whitehouse Station

Holly Bough Plantation, Whitehouse Station
908-534-2622 … 88 Cole Rd … I-78 or Rte. 22 to Rte. 523, two miles south to Rte. 620 (Dreahook Rd.), M mi. to Holland Brook Rd. – Turn right, continue 1.5 mi. to split in road, turn right onto Cole Rd.
Species … 200 trees; Blue Spruce, Canaan Fir, Black Hills Spruce
Open … 9: 30-5 (Sat & Sun), Nov. 24 – Dec. 23.

Wrightstown

Edwards Christmas Tree Farm, Wrightstown
609-758-7729 … 338 Jacobstown-Cookstown Rd … From Mt. Holly, take Rte. 537 E. to right at light at Jacobstown-Cookstown Rd. Farm is one mile on right. From Freehold, take Rte. 537 W. to left at light at Jacobstown-Cookstown Rd. Farm is one mile on right.
Species … 200 trees; White Pine, Douglas-fir, Scotch Pine
Open … 9-4: 30 (daily), Dec.. 1 – Dec. 24

Revaluation or Malassessment In New Jersey

What is it? – A revaluation is an activity performed by the local tax assessor for the municipality to appraise all real property within its borders according to the prevailing market value. The difference between a revaluation and a reassessment is that the assessor hires a revaluation company to perform the work if it is called a revaluation versus doing the work in house with the staff of the assessor’s office in the case of a reassessment.

What is its purpose? – The sole constitutional purpose of a revaluation is to spread the property tax burden equitably among all property owners within a municipality.

What if its not done? – Generally, delays in updating assessments to reflect changing physical and economic conditions lead to Malassessment. Properties once similar in value became dissimilar. Owners of properties with rising value became accustomed to paying a lesser share of the tax burden than would otherwise be the case and after reassessment “suffer” sharply higher property tax payments. Other property owners “benefit” from decreased taxes because the value of their property has declined or only slightly increased – these taxpayers have been paying a higher tax than they should have been.

What causes Malassessment? – Each property in the same municipality with the same market value at a given point in time should be paying the same amount in property taxes. Malassessments or inequitable assessments result from the following situations causing a lack of assessment uniformity:

o changes in neighborhood characteristics;

o changes made to individual properties;

o fluctuation in the economy (inflation, recession);

o changes in style and custom (desirability of architecture, size of house);

o changes in zoning which can either enhance or affect value adversely.

What is wrong here? – Assessors are asked to find “the price” at which a willing buyer and willing seller would agree to transfer a piece of property on October first. Well, common sense tells you there is a whole range of prices at which a willing buyer and a willing seller could transact a sale. So assessments are only predictions, and even the best predictions go astray. The need for a reassessment or revaluation, therefore, grows with the passage of time that erodes the old information based upon which the original assessments were made. Statewide in New Jersey, these assessment predictions or estimates constitute the tax base on which 2/5ths of all our state and local taxes are collected. Its on this set of predictions that local governments in New Jersey collected $19.6 billion in 2005.

Is there a better way? – Yes, first we must realize we have an indefensible tax structure that places too much weight on a property tax base that at best is only a set of predictions. Second, we must make provision for accurate regular assessments by strengthening and beefing up the assessment function with a sound investment in computers, assessment data base management and appraisal education resources for assessors.

New Jersey Car Insurance – What Do You Need To Know About It?

When purchasing New Jersey car insurance there are many decisions you will have to make. You need to understand what kind of car insurance coverage you need and how much you can afford to pay. New Jersey car insurance will have no trouble meeting your needs but you, yourself, must know what you need in insurance for New Jersey driving before you purchase. Just keep in mind that there are many options for Nj insurance available with all the different companies selling insurance.

When purchasing NJ car insurance, there are some things the agent is bound by law to inform you. For New Jersey car insurance you have three coverage choices called "Insurance Scenarios". The car insurance agent this will let you know how each choice may affect your policy and what you pay for benefits if you happen to have an accident. He / She should tell you that you can cancel your car insurance anytime you want, for example, if you find better car insurance with another car insurance company.

You can also change the insurance coverage and policy limits for your car at any time, even if you are not close to your car insurance renewal. If you select options when you purchase New Jersey car insurance then it may pay off when you're ready to cancel there may be a refund if you cancel early. All New Jersey car insurance companies must give you back the refund within thirty days from the day you cancel your Nj car insurance.

New Jersey car insurance is divided into different coverage, but this is based on the type of claim that will be paid out to you or others. One is personal injury protection – this protects you or others depending on who is in the car at the time of an accident, and will pay the medical coverage regardless of which driver is at fault. Then there is liability car insurance that pays for damages incurred when you are at fault in an accident. This also covers any legal help that you will need if you are being sued. Within liability car insurance, there are also two types of coverage – bodily injury and property damage. Most New Jersey car insurance companies carry the same policies. These insurance policies pay for anyone that is hurt or die as the result of the accident you caused. You may think the cost of car insurance is high when you take out a policy in New Jersey, but it's nothing compared to what an accident would cost you if you did not have any NJ insurance on your car.

Here are a few things for you to think about when buying car insurance in New Jersey.

New Jersey Designer Show House, A Feng Shui Recap Part 2

One of the most fun bedrooms in the New Jersey Designer Show House this year was designed by Timothy Miller of Timothy & Associates, Interior Design. Instead of designing a typical bedroom, Timothy chose to make his bedroom into a luxurious study.

Though small this room captures a sense of style, intimacy, intrigue and delight. Everywhere you look your gaze is met with color, texture, movement and style. Beautiful spring green shagreen bookcase backs enhance the deep wood tones of the bookcase and surrounding accessories. A small loveseat is tucked into the far corner and a round table takes center stage. The walls are a creamy embossed leather and the ceiling is covered in textured black alligator paper. Though it may sound over the top, the colors and textures are the perfect balance to the decor used in this room. The overall effect is one of style, elegance and luxurious comfort.

Why do I like this room so much? This room captures the essence of Feng Shui. It is both energizing and welcoming. The warm colors and textures draw you into the space, and that’s what good Feng Shui does, good Feng Shui draws you into a space with comfort, a sense of welcome and style. Our homes should be so comfortable to us that walking in the door feels as warm and delightful as getting a hug.

Feng Shui creates environments that use the energy of the space to our best advantage, improving not only the aesthetics of our spaces but also the feeling of our spaces.It doesn’t matter if your house is big or small, in the city or in the country or what style of décor you prefer. What matters is that you take the time to create, a space that embraces the spirit of your home, and the essence of your true personality.

Does your home embrace the essence of your true personality? If not, what are you waiting for?

Recommendations Of New Jersey's 1997 Property Tax Commission

Recommendations of the Governor's 1997 Property Tax Commission that through August 2, 2001 have been enacted by law or by regulation and those which have had just bills introduced.

Governor Whitman asked the Property Tax Commission she created in 1997 to study the property tax problem in New Jersey and offer recommendations that would help county, school, and municipal officials facilitate the burden of property taxes on New Jersey residents.

The 60 specific recommendations of the Commission are listed in summary form below. Following the specific recommendation is a citation to the law, regulation or bill that follows or a statement that (No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

It appears that after the 60 recommendations of the Governor's Property Tax Commission were issued in September of 1998, 11 recommendations had one or more bills introduced to implement them, 6 recommendations were implemented by Executive Order No. 88, and one recommendation was implemented by a constitutional amendment.

Chapter I

1.1 Enact legislation that would allow municipal governments in urban aid-qualified communities to levy a parking, entertainment, or hotel room room tax for the purpose of providing direct tax relief to property taxpayers.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

Chapter II

2.1 Establish a State program of financial assistance and incentives to encourage local governments and school districts to consolidate, regionalize, and implement new joint services.

PL1999, c.60, Regional Efficiency Aid Program (REDI). This program assists local governments and school districts with the study and implementation of shared service agreements and consolidation efforts.

2.2 Link any program of incentives and financial assistance for consolidation, regionalization, and shared services directly to providing property tax relief for the communities' residents.

PL1999, c.61, Regional Efficiency Aid Program (REAP). This program provides property tax credits directly to tenants in those taxing districts that have implemented regionalization and other cost saving measures.

2.3 Continue funding for the Joint Service Incentive Grant Program, which provides "seed money" to study or implement consolidation, and regional and shared service programs.

The last time the "Joint Services Incentive Aid" grant program was funded in the State Budget was for $ 500,000 in FY 2000.

2.4 Amend current statutes to provide, at local option, that in instances of shared or merged services involving police, firefighters, and teachers, all contractual matters shall be subject to renegotiation with the shared / merged service provider.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

2.5 Permit locally funded early retirement incentives or added pension credit programs for newly consolidated municipalities or new interlocal service programs.

PL1999, c.59, Permits local units to offer retirement or termination incentives to certain employees affected by regionalization of services.

2.6 Permit local units to "opt out" of Civil Service for purposes of interlocal and shared service programs.

A-258 of 00-01, Permits counts and municipalities to withdraw from civil service for purposes of interlocal and shared service programs.

2.7 Direct all State agencies to conduct a review of their rules and program requirements to identify those that restrict local shared efforts or cooperative activity.

Executive Order 88.

2.8 Administratively provide that appointment of a joint municipal court judge shall be by the Governor based upon nominations made by the municipalities operating the joint municipal court.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

2.9 Enact legislation to permit county governments and approved local cooperative pricing systems to establish programs similar to the State's open-ended contracts.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

2.10 Provide clear statistical authority for counties to serve as facilitators of intermunicipal joint service efforts. Along with legislative authority, provide limited financial assistance to help counts establish offices of shared service facilitation.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

2.11 Statutorily require regular (at least annual) meetings between the governing bodies of adjoining municipalities, and between municipal officials and those of local school districts, authorities, and fire districts to discuss cost- saving efforts and possible shared services.

A-544 of 2000, Provides for annual meetings between school boards and municipal governing bodies to discuss finances.

2.12 Direct State agencies, including the Local Government Budget Review Program, to make personnel available upon request to assist local officials with planning new interlocal activities and evaluating the feasibility of shared service programs.

Executive Order 88.

2.13 Encourage local governments and school districts to make greater use of public-private efforts and the services available from non-profit organizations to help develop and implement regional and shared service efforts.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

2.14 Establish a statutory budget cap exemption for interlocal service agreements. Provide a positive cap base adjustment to reflect a fixed amount of the interlocal appropriation as an inducement to establish shared service programs.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

2.15 Revise the local budget law to permit budget transfers at any time during the budget year to fund new interlocal service agreements.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

2.16 Assume the costs of the county attorneys' offices and the costs of providing court facilities, including construction costs.

S-505 of 00-01, Requires State to reimburse counties for costs of county candidates offices.

A-1360 of 00-01, State assumption of county prosecutor office costs.

S-2220 and A-3450 of 00-01, Creates the judicial and prosecution facilities construction assistance act.

2.17 Permit additional membership representation from participants in joint meetings established under the Consolidated Municipal Services Act, NJSA 40: 48B.

PL1999, c.58, Facilities consolidation of municipalities and municipal services.

2.18 Condition financial assistance or State aid upon participation in shared or regional service activities.

PL1999, Chapter 156, Concerns special municipal aid and extraordinary municipal aid and conditions aid, in part, on a municipality's opting for shared or regionalized services.

2.19 Amend the Municipal Consolidation Act to reduce the number of petition signatures.

PL1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.

2.20 Amend the Municipal Consolidation Act to permit the creation of a municipal consolidation study commission by ordinance of the local governing bodies without the need for a ratifying recourse in each jurisdiction

PL1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.

2.21 Amend the Municipal Consolidation Act to lengthen the time allotted for filing the study commission's final report to at least no later than Labor Day (rather than nine months after the election of the consolidation study commission). Consideration should be given to provide for a permissive extension (up to a maximum of one year), if desired by the commission.

PL1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.

2.22 Eliminate the commission's six month preliminary report and the Department of Community Affairs' eight month evaluation review of that report.

PL1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.

Chapter III

3.1 Implement the recommendations of the New Jersey Regionalization Advisory Panel's January, 1998 report.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

3.2 Revise the funding mechanism for regional school districts to eliminate cost inequities and permit equal sharing of the benefits and cost savings possible from regionalization.

A-511 and S-128 of 00-01, Provided supplemental state aid to certain regional school district constituencies municipalities to offset any tax increase associated with regionalization.

3.3 Direct the Commissioner of Education to develop a program to maintain and enhance local control of individual schools when districts regionalize.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

3.4 Keep authority and control over certain school-related functions now practiced by the local boards of education at the sub-regional level when school districts regionalize.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

3.5 Direct the Commissioner of Education to develop regional and shared service models for administrative and support functions.

Executive Order 88.

3.6 Conduct studies to identify and develop models of shared administrative and management positions.

Executive Order 88.

3.7 Help the county superintendents' offices facilitate efforts to implement inter-district and joint pupil transport services.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

3.8 Direct the Department of Education and the Department of Community Affairs to work jointly to encourage interlocal efforts between school districts and municipalities.

Executive Order 88.

3.9 Research and study current use of shared and regional approaches to general education and administrative services by local districts to identify suitable models.

Executive Order 88.

3.10 Help increase parents 'and residents' involvement in the educational process and the affairs of neighborhood schools.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

Chapter IV

4.1 Prepare a guidebook for municipalities and counties to determine the true costs and benefits of development, including an "Economic Analysis Worksheet" and techniques for implementation.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

4.2 Provide planning board members with tools for understanding the costs and benefits of development and land conservation and provide financial and technical assistance to strengthen local planning.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

4.3 Enable municipalities to enforce "timed growth" ordinances that advance the State Plan, as a tool to control property taxes.

A-426 and S-601 and A-3269 of 00-01, Authorizes timed-growth ordinances under "Municipal Land Use Law."

A-3269 and S-496 of 00-01, Authorizes adoption of timed-growth ordinances by municipalities.

4.4 Support the use of impact fees to mitigate the cost of new development by providing additional revenue for schools, emergency services, and parks in areas that promote compact development.

A-1712 of 00-01, Authorizes assessment of development impact fees by municipalities.

4.5 Support the State Plan's use by municipalities, counties, and State agencies as a means of holding down property taxes.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming), but DCA indicates it supports the State Plan's use by municipalities, counties, and State agencies as a means of holding down property taxes.

4.6 Amend Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations to ensure that practices do not initiate a development cycle or a ratables chase. For the next allocation cycle, develop COAH formula consistent with the State Plan.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

4.7 Support state funding for transportation, including mass transit, that meets local and regional needs.

A. Bills Introduced

1998-1999 session:

A 2330 Motor fuels tax, increase for transportation purposes

A 2404 Petroleum gross receipt tax – Transportation Trust Fund

ACR96 Motor vehicle fuels tax – dedicated for transportation funding

ACR124 Transportation fund – dedicate 1/2 cent sales tax

S1255 Motor fuels tax, increase for transportation purposes

SCR64 Motor vehicle fuels tax – dedicated for transportation funding

SCR65 Motor fuels tax- repair State transportation system

SCR67 Motor vehicle fuels tax – dedicated for transportation funding

A2984 County road project – eliminate State permit fee

A3628 State transportation system, improve local bridges

S1610 Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Bond Act

S1745 County road project – eliminate State permit fee

S1848 Traffic control signals – DOT bear cost

S2295 State transportation system, improve local bridges

A95 Expand definition of Circle of Mobility

S161 Expand definition of Circle of Mobility

S194 NJT Corp., DOT property in lieu of tax payment

A2343 Transportation Trust Fund Authority – increase spending cap

A3567 Creates Local Bond Authority

S1609 Transportation Trust Fund Authority – increase spending cap

2000-2001 session:

A1673 Statewide Transportation; local bridge funds; $ 205 million

A2348 Transportation Trust Fund projects – concerns revenues

A2541 21st Century Transportation Trust Fund Extension

A2586 Congestions Relief / Transportation Trust Fund Act

A2715 Transportation Trust Fund Authority – concerns fund use

A3010 Amends definition of Circle of Mobility

A3188 Transportation Project Capital Fund – establish

A3350 Transportation district – concerns congestion relief

ACR18 Petroleum gross receipts tax – fund transportation

ACR40 Transportation fund – dedicate 1/2 cent of sales tax

ACR115 Petroleum product tax – limited to transportation

S26 Motor fuels tax, increase for transportation purposes

S705 Traffic control signals – DOT bear cost

S1488 Expand definition of Circle of Mobility

SCR7 Motor vehicle fuels tax – dedicated for transportation funding

SCR35 Motor vehicle fuels tax – repair State transportation system

A444 Create Highway Corridor Redevelopment Zone Comm.

A785 County road project – eliminate State permit fee

A2587 1999 Statewide Transportation / Local Bridge Fund; $ 150 million

A3181 Road repair grants – State, county, mun .; $ 45 million

A3286 Statewide Transportation, local bridge fund; $ 145 million

A3496 Local Bridge Bond Act of 2001

S813 State transportation system, improve local bridges

S1528 1999 Statewide Transportation / Local Bridge Fund; $ 150 million

S2106 Road maintenance, repairs – county, mun. $ 20 million

A3502 Concerns South New Jersey Light Rail Transit system

AR147 Local participation in RR Operations Act

AR157 Mass transit – DOT alleviate congestion

S239 Expands definition of Circle of Mobility

A1189 Creates Local Bond Authority

A3010 Amends definition of Circle of Mobility

B. Laws Enacted

PL 1999, c.181 Bridge Rehabilitation and Improvement Bond Act

PL 1999, c.147 Increase spending cap for the Transportation Trust Fund Authority

PL 2000, c. 11 Appropriates $ 205 million from 1999 Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Fund
PL 2000, c.59 Expands definition of Circle of Mobility

PL 2000, c.73 Congestion Relief and Transportation Trust Fund Renewal Act

PL 2000, c.155 Appropriates $ 205 million from 1999 Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Fund

PL 2000, c.53 FY 2001 Appropriations Act; approates $ 900 million from

Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects

PL 1999, c.138 FY 2000 Appropriations Act; appropriates $ 900 million from Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects

PL 1998, c.45 FY 1999 Appropriations Act; appropriates $ 700 million from Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects

PL 1997, c.131 FY 1998 Appropriations Act; appropriates $ 900 million from Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects

4.8 Support a stable source of funding for open space and farmland preservation.

On November 3, 1998, New Jersey's voters passed Public Question No. 2. 1. Article 8, Sec. 2. para. 7 of State Constitution dedicates $ 98 million in sales tax revenues for open space, farmland, and historic preservation.

Chapter V

5.1 Establish a county-based assessment structure with strong State oversight and involvement to provide an environment conducive to ongoing assessment equity.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.2 Mandate more frequent updates of assessment values ​​by requiring assessors to use State-approved computer software.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming). However, see A-641 and S-995 of 00-01, that creates a "Task Force to Study the Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal of Real Property; appropriates $ 100,000.

5.3 Establish a schedule for property visitation.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.4 Improve guidelines for assessment uniformity.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.5 Create a State-funded program to absorb increases in the local property tax burden for a fixed period of time.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.6 Guarantee the promised State incentive funding for the full five-year period, once local units agree to merge.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.7 Provide State funding to "hold harmless" local units that experienced a reduction in overall State aid funding as a result of the consolidation.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.8 Require municipalities participating in mergers to conduct and complete a revaluation prior to consolidation.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.9 Provide State funding of the revaluation relief credits that municipalities are permitted to offer property taxpayers under the Rehabilitation Relief Act of 1993.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

5.10 Use financial incentives and disincentives to encourage participation when there is only a small discrepancy between taxpayer assessments and current market values.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

Chapter VI

6.1 Fund an independent statewide analysis of the equity issues surrounding "circuit breakers" established along intergenerational lines and withhold new programs until completion of that study. (No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

6.2 Enact Governor Whitman's proposed legislation that would move local school board member elections to the November general election.

A-1721 of 2000, Provides for the election of school board members at November general election.

6.3 Amend state law (C. 40A: 10-52) to remove the barrier prohibiting municipalities and school districts from joining together for the purpose of providing joint health insurance.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

6.4 Extend the open enrollment period indefinitely for municipalities wishing to enter the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP).

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

6.5 Develop a mechanism which permits and encourages adjunct municipalities to share the ratables derived from new development with regional implications beyond the boundaries of the host municipality.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

6.6 Enact legislation that will establish a system of multiple jurisdictional bargaining for public employees on a county, regional or statewide basis.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

6.7 Enact legislation that will limit the annual growth in public employee salaries to the rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index for the New York and Philadelphia areas.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

6.8 Examine the effectiveness of existing caps on budgets that contribute to property taxes.

(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).

6.9 Examine the question of seeking veto approval of all budgets that contribute to property taxes.

ACR-80 of 2000, Proposed constitutional amendment requiring voter approval for any new tax or tax increase by any governmental unit.