Governor Murphy has signed S908/A2480, which clarifies the law related to voluntary and mandatory community associations. The Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (“PREDFDA”) was amended in 2017, establishing that residents in private communities are members of the association. Attempts to modify PREDFDA to exclude private lake associations from its provisions were sponsored by District 24 representatives Oroho, Wirths and Space and District 27 representative Webber.
The Governor vetoed the legislation, recognizing the attempt to shield certain property owners who objected to contributing, but noting that “the interests of these property owners must be carefully balanced against the interests of all other parties, including those property owners who have previously been contributing to their associations.” The Governor emphasized the need to “safeguard the ability of lake associations to collect funds necessary to comply with critical environmental, health, and safety requirements.” The legislation was passed with the Governor’s changes to the bill, which clarified that associations could not impose mandatory fees based solely on the 2017 PREDFDA amendments but could continue to do so if there was another “basis at law.” This allows private lake associations to continue to pursue mandatory assessments under any other basis at law, including title documents of record.
Ernest Hofer, President of the New Jersey Coalition of Lake Associations, praised the Governor’s action in resisting the legislators’ attempts to limit the ability of private lake associations to maintain their lakes and natural resources. “Governor Murphy continues to acknowledge that the demands on lake communities, including compliance with state environmental regulations, require that all who benefit from living in these lake communities should pay their fair share to maintain them.”
NJ COLA President's Letter - 3/29/20
On behalf of the Board of NJCOLA, I hope this letter finds your association members healthy, safe, and adjusting in a positive manner to the difficulties presented by these unprecedented and challenging times. While current conditions undoubtedly are daunting, we strongly believe that with spirit, care, and perseverance we will return to our normal lake community style of life.
Your Board is determined to continue to do everything within its power to support the Mission and Objectives of NJCOLA with emphasis on serving your lake water quality and lake management needs. In the past, this was accomplished via onsite technical presentations, information sharing, identification and dissemination of best practices, and timely topic discussions. Short term, given the current circumstances and guidelines, it will not be possible to continue to meet in a social setting. Therefore, for approximately the next three months (subject to change depending upon prevailing conditions at the end of that time), we will make every effort to communicate with you via the NJCOLA website (njcola.com). In addition, we are planning to hold frequent Board meetings via ZOOM or one of several other teleconferencing venues in order to direct and manage NJCOLA affairs. Further, we plan to frequently publish and upload articles on the website. As always, we are very interested in receiving member feedback on the subjects, topics, and questions of most value to you. You can always communicate with us via the Contact information provided on the website.
Until the COVID-19 virus enemy is destroyed, I strongly advise strict adherence to the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America (coronavirus.gov) and the advice of Healthcare professionals. I echo their advice to follow good hygiene practice: 1) effectively wash hands often, 2) use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, 3) keep hands off and away from the face, mouth, nose, and eyes and 4) practice social distancing.
We extend our prayers, our best wishes, and our hopes that you all remain healthy and safe through these trying times. Overall, I urge you to remain strong and positive. We will defeat the COVID-19 enemy.
Ernest Hofer PE
HOW WE WORK WITH OUR RESIDENTS - 7/10/20
As President of the New Jersey Coalition of Lake Associations (NJCOLA), a coalition of 83-member lake associations in Northern New Jersey, I submit a follow-up to my letter of April 30, 2020, responding to and fact-checking a letter from our elected representatives alleging harsh and unfair tactics taken by lake associations in their dues collection practices (The New Jersey Herald, April 26, 2020 Section A).
To investigate the allegations of unfair tactics, the Executive Board of NJCOLA conducted a detailed survey of its members to establish validated hard facts. The results of the survey totally impugn the unsubstantiated claims and assertions made. Virtually 100% of the reported feedback clearly indicates that the collection policies of our member associations are grounded in awareness and consideration of individual resident’s circumstances and concerns including financial hardship. Enacted in-place policies reported include but are not limited to extended payment plans, senior discounts, extension of due dates, use of set-aside hardship funds, relief proposals, relaxed payment terms, case-by-case considerations, and individualized tailored plans to address specific circumstances. It is noted that no actual examples of lakes taking these alleged “tactics’ was provided in the representatives’ press release and to date none have been identified by them.
EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND EMERGENCY LEGISLATION - last updated 4/16/20
EXECUTIVE ORDERS: Governor Murphy has signed several Executive Orders related to the coronavirus emergency. All Orders can be found at https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/
Continue reading the Executive Orders and Legislation that impact lake associations.
ASSOCIATION RESPONSES / ACTIONS to COVID-19 CRISIS updated 4/20/20
One of the goals of NJCOLA is to share information for the benefit of all members. As part of NJCOLA’s outreach during these unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is to inform you of general guidelines being followed and practices being implemented by a number of our association members. While we usually focus more specifically on matters of a technical nature, over the next few months or for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis we want to address the operational-and community-side of how we are managing our individual member lake associations / organizations.
American Red Cross (ARC) Lifeguard Certification Training during COVID19
The American Red Cross on Friday, April 17, 2020 provided information via an online meeting among Red Cross professional staff, instructor trainers and instructors. These help to provide guidance for conducting training, dealing with re certifications and initial training.
BASIS FOR THE NJDEP 2020 HAB ALERT LEVELS by Randall Sprague and Ernest Hofer 6/3/20
NJDEP held a Microsoft Teams meeting on May 21 to explain the new HAB Alert Levels. Ernie Hofer and I attended that May 21 NJDEP meeting, which was by invite only. The session was simultaneous with NJDEP issuing a press release of the new HAB alert levels. By now most of you have likely seen the below NJDEP table for 2020 HAB Alert Tiers, which was published in many newspapers.
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State Fiscal Year 2019 Grants to Prevent, Mitigate and/or Control Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Project Descriptions by Emily McGuckin AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador 5/16/20
In 2019, many New Jersey lakes including a few reservoirs experienced significant algal blooms that impacted economic, recreational, and community environments. To address the crisis, the State of New Jersey approved grants totaling $2.5 million plus a matching portion of 33% to undertake experimental programs to be centered on the development of up to 15 emerging and innovative lake water treatment approaches. Continue reading article on approved grants.
LMCC Awarded the NJDEP Grant to Prevent, Mitigate and /or Control Harmful Algal Blooms!!! In response to the 2019 Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) experienced by numerous lakes in New Jersey, the Governor initiated a total of $2.5 million in grant funding to improve water quality this year.
Continue reading more about this grant and other HAB articles.
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To learn more about other 2019 funded grants awarded by the DEP to “Prevent, Mitigate and/or Control Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)”, go to the DEP website.