Mayor Bollwage attended the New Jersey State League of Municipalities 101st Annual Conference from November 15th through November 17th at the Atlantic City Convention Center where the status of the Urban Enterprise Zones was discussed.
The theme of this year’s event was Meeting the Challenges of Municipal Government. In addition to being a past league president, I am also the chairman of the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Mayors Commission and moderated a Wednesday afternoon session, where pending UEZ legislation was discussed.
From mayors and UEZ coordinators to economic development directors and administrators, the meeting was standing-room only as attendees listened to panelists: Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio, representing Legislative District 15; Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, representing Legislative District 29; Mayor Adrian Mapp, City of Plainfield and Mr. Mark Tilborg, who represented Seemore Appliances, which is a business located within the Plainfield Urban Enterprise Zone.
Assemblywoman Maher Muoio and Assemblywoman Pintor-Marin are Primary Sponsors of Assembly Bill 4189, which was passed by the Assembly on November 21, 2016. A4189 extends the duration of the first five designated UEZs for two additional years; specifies permissible use of UEZ funds and requires the DCA Commissioner to assess and issue a report on the UEZ program.
Assembly Bill 2576, which also included sponsorship by the Assemblywomen, would have extended the duration of urban enterprise zones for 10 additional years as well as specified permissible use of funds, was conditionally vetoed by Governor Christie on September 8, 2016. In response to the justifications provided within the conditional veto, A4189 was developed, addressing issues detailed within A2576 as well as focusing on the first five UEZ municipalities: Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton, which are set to expire on January 1, 2017.
The UEZ program is a critical financial mechanism for promoting public and private investment as well as the creation of jobs. If designations expire and the program ceases to exist as we know it, business attraction and retention efforts will be adversely affected as well as the incentives currently available that draw consumers into our communities. Attendees were encouraged to raise awareness regarding their municipal growth and share the success occurring within their Urban Enterprise Zones.