Bill To Reimburse NJ Towns For Motor Vehicle Expenses Advances

NEW JERSEY - When the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission reopened following the COVID shutdown, it led to long lines of frustrated residents and slowed traffic in the area of facilities across the state and accrued local law enforcement costs. A new bill would help pay for it.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco and advanced Tuesay by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee would ensure municipalities are compensated for additional police costs resulting from traffic congestion and long lines at MVC locations.

“After closing their doors following Governor Murphy’s lock down of the state, MVC was clearly unprepared and overwhelmed for what would happen when they opened again,” said Bucco. “The re-openings were botched. Police were called in to keep the peace and control crowds, at a significant cost to police departments and municipalities. It was the administration’s job to ensure things ran smoothly, but they dropped the ball.”

Bucco’s legislation, S-2762, would appropriate $500,000 in federal CARES Act money to establish a fund to pay back local governments for expenses incurred by police departments for the management and control of crowds and traffic at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission locations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fiscal impact on Randolph in my district has been severe, and it’s the same across the state,” Bucco said. “It’s indefensible to expect cash-strapped municipalities to take the hit. Local taxpayers should not be forced to shoulder the burden and families shouldn’t have to sacrifice police protection in their neighborhoods. The feds sent billions of dollars in Coronavirus Relief Funds to the state, and this bill would utilize some of that money to lighten the impact on local taxpayers.”

Bucco’s legislation would be retroactive to March 9, 2020, when Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 103 declaring a public health emergency and state of emergency.

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This article originally appeared on the Mendham-Chester Patch