The following Letter to the Editor was submited by the United Way of Northern New Jersey
Just four months ago, Housing Alliance representatives approached local state legislators, Sen. Anthony R. Bucco and Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, with a simple appeal. We asked them to help keep $22 million of funding earmarked for affordable housing in Morris County rather than forfeiting it to plug holes in the state budget.
The father-and-son team heard the merits and filed common-sense legislation to keep the funding in our county. Co-sponsors have joined the effort and our Morris County freeholders have lent their support, too. We applaud our elected officials for seeing the need for affordable housing in our communities and understanding that local funds are better kept in Morris County, not spent in Trenton.
The funds at stake were fees paid by developers to local towns to support affordable housing. Funds collected prior to July 2008 that have gone unspent are now set to revert to the state on July 17. While the money will disappear, obligations to provide affordable housing will remain. Instead of developers footing the bill, taxpayers now could be on the hook instead.
This $22 million could be leveraged with other private and government funding to result in some 100 units of affordable housing. Not to mention it could create some 9,900 jobs, and generate nearly $1.2 million in local property taxes.
This is only the first round of funds set to revert to state coffers, if citizens and other lawmakers remain silent. Each quarter, additional unspent funds will cycle out of our county and into hands at the statehouse.
Let’s not surrender this money to Trenton. Let’s build our local economy. Stand up and voice your support for S-1893 and A-2717.
- Jodi Miciak, co-chair United Way of Northern New Jersey Housing Alliance (973-993-1160, ext. 135)
- Diane Driscoll, co-chair United Way of Northern New Jersey Housing Alliance (973-463-9600, ext. 312)