By Mark Rosman
ALLENTOWN – The Borough Council has lent its support to a complaint filed by the New Jersey Association of Counties which asserts that the state’s Criminal Justice Reform Act constitutes an unfunded state mandate in violation of New Jersey’s Constitution.
The complaint has been filed with the New Jersey Council on Local Mandates, which has the exclusive constitutional authority to rule that a state law, rule, or regulation imposes an unconstitutional “unfunded mandate” on boards of education, counties or municipalities.
Under the state Constitution, if the council so rules, then the “unfunded mandate” in the law, rule or regulation ceases to be mandatory in effect and “expires,” according to state.nj.us/localmandates
In a resolution passed Jan. 17, the Allentown council said New Jersey’s Criminal Justice Reform Act “will impose upon municipal governments an undue financial hardship to implement as each municipality in some capacity must hire new personnel, invest in new equipment and information technology, and make capital and other necessary improvements to jail, court and ancillary court facilities.”
The costs associated with hiring personnel, purchasing equipment and making capital improvements, although mandated by the state, will not be paid for by the state and constitute an unfunded mandate, according to the resolution.
The Criminal Justice Reform Act “did not allocate monies … to offset the costs associated with implementing and administering the (act) in violation of New Jersey’s constitution,” according to the resolution.
Allentown supports the New Jersey Association of Counties’ filing of the complaint with the Council on Local Mandates.
The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders recently took similar action to support the New Jersey Association of Counties’ filing of the complaint with the Council on Local Mandates.