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NJ State Edition Helping communities find the federal funding they need.


The View from New Jersey State New Jersey: State of Flux

Like most states across the country, budgetary concerns have created unrest and uncertainty in New Jersey. Cuts and reforms by Governor Chris Christie, particularly in the area of education, have not only stoked the ire of most New Jersey Democrats and other non-conservatives, but have also been deemed unconstitutional. Governor Christie has proposed a 7 to 11 percent cut in the state’s General Assistance Program, while simultaneously vetoing 2010 legislation that would have temporarily raised taxes on those in the top income brackets. Overall, Christie cut $820 million in State Aid last year and $1 billion from school funding. As a result, the governor is now being sued by the Education Law Center, which contends that the cuts violate certain state funding requirements set. According to a Superior Court Judge, the governor’s education cuts left New Jersey schools unable to provide “thorough and efficient” education to the state’s 1.4 million school children. The case is now being heard by the State Supreme Court, but Christie may stick to his guns regardless of this outcome. During the “Ask the Governor” radio program on New Jersey 101.5, Christie recently said ignoring the Supreme Court ruling was “an option.” The upshot of this turmoil is that the State budget has not been finalized, and school districts and local governments are left to wonder what will happen to programs upon which they have depended.

On The Horizon…

DEP Green Acres Program: As one of the State’s most sought after grant programs, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program has been a staple for sustainable county and municipal open space and recreational development. As all New Jersey governmental entities are aware, the landscape for FY 2011 Green Acres funding was both highly competitive and extremely uncertain. At Bruno Associates, Inc. we are aware of the p. ~ The Fundbook - NJ | May 2011

possibility that State budgetary concerns may push back, reduce, or otherwise adversely affect future funding cycles. However, we are preparing office staff to serve clients as if the DEP will present the same midsummer deadline for the program as we have seen in recent years. We advise all New Jersey municipalities to evaluate their recreational and open space needs and develop a list of priorities, keeping in mind that some playing fields, parks, and open spaces may share commonalities that would allow for a multi-facility development proposal. These could mean much greater patronage, a higher chance of success, and a greater likelihood of funding for years beyond the upcoming grant period. More information on the program can be found here: http://goo.gl/gAEBS NJDOT Local Aid Funding Status? As we all saw this year, instability in the budget led to major reductions in Local Aid, as well as significant delays in the announcement of awards. As with Green Acres, we are advising clients to prioritize their projects and be sure that requests made via Centers of Place, Safe Streets to Transit, Bikeways, and Transit Village are not projects that might fit the parameters of Municipal Aid. Even though this program was less reliable than it has been in recent memory, Local Aid remains the most likely program to receive funding in the months ahead. We don’t mean to suggest that the other programs should not be options, quite the opposite, in fact. In some cases, local governments do not even know when they are eligible for programs like Centers of Place or that they should consider an application for Transit Village designation. It is important for local governments to familiarize themselves with the various offerings from the Department of Transportation and to take advantage of one of the largest chunks of money offered at the state level through the competitive grant process. If we’re lucky, the State will once again open up Local Aid sometime early this summer, so be on the lookout. More information on the above programs can be found here: http://goo.gl/nQUh7

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Grants consulting & public relations services

I

n 1968, while working in the inner sanctum of government as a congressional and gubernatorial press secretary, John R. Bruno, Sr. recognized that munici-

palities were not pursuing federal and state grant funding simply because they did not have the resources to do so. Responding to this need, John founded Bruno Associates, Inc. to empower public entities with quality services and expertise that

www . BrunoAssociAtesinc . com

(973) 249-6225

would enable them to raise money without raising taxes. Our track record speaks for itself. Over the past 40 years, Bruno Associates has secured more than $500 million in grant funding, emerging as a foremost authority in grant procurement for municipalities and counties, public school districts,

Bruno AssociAtes, inc. 1373 BroAd street, suite 304 clifton, nJ 07013

educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. Among some pretty stiff competition, Bruno Associates, Inc. continues to remain one of the oldest, family-owned grant and public relations consulting firms in the state of New Jersey. Our reputation is built on commitment, consistent leadership and your success. Our stability and depth of experience combine to assist you to expand and develop in the future – fiscally and responsibly. We are a company where experience counts.

Don’t take our word for it: See some of our satisfied NJ local government clients Township of Belleville Township of Brick Borough of Paramus City of Clifton Mine Hill Township Town of Harrison Township of Irvington

City of Linden Belleville Board of Education North Bergen Board of Education North Bergen Township Town of Guttenberg

Town of Secaucus Township of Brick City of Brigantine Bloomfield West New York Board of Education Essex County Parks

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Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority Brick Housing Authority City of Newark Municipal Council City of Orange Township Borough of Riverdale

May 2011 | The Fundbook - NJ ~ p.


Agreement on Education Reform Measures?

As educators of New Jersey await notice of state funding decisions that will likely affect thousands of teachers and students, Governor Christie is advocating for his education reform program, “Putting New Jersey’s Children First.” The program focuses on teachers: their evaluations, their compensation, their attainment of tenure, and their right to due process. While these issues are traditionally addressed at the local level by community leaders and their respective boards of education, the governor has sent to the legislature a series of bills that would establish a statewide evaluation system, fundamentally reform the state’s tenure system, provide merit pay to New Jersey’s best teachers, and eliminate the “last in, first out” laws. In response, New Jersey Education Association President Barbara Keshishian stated, “Governor Christie’s proposals should get a full public airing so they can be debated and discussed in the context of genuine educational outcomes. We welcome a full and open debate on these issues.

This article was contributed by Nate Burroughs of Bruno & Associates. Bruno & Associates is very knowledgable of the grants and funding territory in NJ and works with local governments and nonprofits on grants-related services there.

p. ~ The Fundbook - NJ | May 2011

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Helping communities secure the federal funding they need The FundBook bridges the gap between your needs and those sources of federal funding available to your community. With a list of features that is growing each month, the FundBook can help you… • Stay Organized – User-friendly features help you sort through the federal funding quagmire and locate quality grants. • Gain Access – Expert insights into the federal assistance programs that matter to you. • Prioritize Effectively – Tools to help your community navigate the federal funding process.

How We Help:

Hundreds of communities across the nation are using the FundBook to navigate an increasing array of federal funding opportunities available to cities and counties each year. Designed to give local government leaders a commanding view of the federal funding process, each issue promotes and educates a do-it-yourself approach to pursuing assistance in Washington, D.C. and working with the federal agencies. The FundBook is designed to be the most userfriendly federal funding resource for all sizes of local government.

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Why Us?

Unlike other news magazines or government relations products designed for local governments, the FundBook endeavors to provide specific, actionable advice rather than general news and policy information. Drawing upon the grant and appropriations experience of our staff and contributors, we strive to give our readers the tools needed to stay on top of the federal funding process every step of the way.

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2011-05 NJ Issue