Marlboro Township could lose $13 million of housing funds it set aside for affordable housing.
The state, as part of the 2008 reform, gave towns until July 17 of this year to spend or account for money raised by their affordable housing trust funds. According to the state Department of Community Affairs, there was $169 million in unspent affordable housing money sitting in local trust funds as of April 4.
"The Christie Administration has announced that as of July 1 they are entitled to take that money," Hornik said.
At Thursday's meeting, the council passed a resolution opposing the state taking over the funds in July, citing a lack of rules and regulations put forth by the Council on Affordable Housing as guidelines for participating townships. The resolution also asks for an extension of the time period to spend the trust fund money.
"Every plan we have submitted for our COAH compliance, and that's our affordable housing compliance, has included spending that money, as was always the concept from administration to administration," Hornik said.
Marlboro Township is . In 2010, COAH decided that Marlboro was not working closely enough with the organization, and took the township out of its jurisdiction.
Hornik decided to appeal COAH’s decision, in order to maintain protection from builders. But, the decision was upheld in a NJ appellate court. He pursued the matter to the NJ Supreme Court, and won. Marlboro Township has been at a standstill with affordable housing projects, waiting for clarity about its obligation.
"...We are waiting for rules and regulations to be given by the Christie Administration so that we know what our obligation is, so we can go forward with a COAH plan," Hornik said.
The mayor attributed the decision to take the money to an easy fix for the state, but an unfair one for local governments, both partisan and non-partisan.
"It isn't fair to say 'You haven't complied with COAH, because we haven't given you the rules, therefore we're taking the money you saved for the last 20 years,'" Hornik said. "This is nothing more than a 'moneygrab' of millions to take from municipalities and put in state coffers to use for budgetary purposes."
Hornik said litigation was filed to protect the trust fund money. The council did not enter executive session to discuss the matters Thursday night. Marlboro will be working with other townships to oppose the July 1 deadline.