correct size blogOn October 15, the Division of Local Government Services issued the CY 2018/SFY 2019 Best Practices Checklist.  Local Finance Notice 2018-26 provides guidance on this year’s process.  Calendar Year municipalities must submit their Best Practices checklist by Monday, November 12, 2018.  State Fiscal Year municipalities will have until Friday, April 5, 2019.

This year’s Best Practices Checklist consists of a total of 61 questions, 30 of which are new. The Division made an attempt to make the wording of various questions more concise and it has broken out compound questions into separate questions.  As a result, some questions require “yes” or “no” answers, while some are “yes”, “no”, or “not applicable”  and others “yes”, “no”, or “prospective.”  It is important to note that once the municipality’s Best Practices Checklist is transmitted to the Division, the worksheets cannot be amended and resubmitted, except if an appeal is made.

In addition, the 169 municipalities in the Opportunity Zones must answer an additional series of survey questions.  These questions are unscored.  The questions are aimed at gauging the needs, priorities and capacities of Opportunity Zones municipalities and to assist the State in helping these communities attract appropriate businesses, investments and development.

The minimum acceptable score is 46 out of 61.  Otherwise, a percentage of your final aid payment will be withheld as follows:

46-61 questions = 25% of final CMPTRA and ETR payment withheld

36-45 questions = 50% of final CMPTRA and ETR payment withheld

26-35 questions = 75% of final CMPTRA and ETR payment withheld

0-25 questions = 100% of final CMPTRA and ETR payment withheld

Failure to submit the Best Practices Checklist will result in a withholding of the full final aid payment. As in previous years, the completed Best Practices Checklist must be an agenda item for discussion at a municipal governing body meeting.  The Chief Administrative Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, and Municipal Clerk must certify the Best Practice Checklist.  The Division has requested that municipalities not wait for the Best Practices Checklist to be discussed at a governing body meeting but submit it once it has been completed.

Municipalities may submit appeals before the submission deadline, but after their Best Practices Checklist has been submitted to the Division.  The Division encourages that appeals be submitted in conjunction with the Best Practices Checklist submission.  Appeals to the Director must be submitted no later than the close of business Monday, November 12, 2018, for calendar year municipalities.

The League has reviewed the Best Practices Checklist and has a number of significant objections to the questions posed in this year’s list. Some of the questions are more survey like than an evaluation of best practices, are duplicative, increase costs to the municipalities or are simply inappropriate.

We are in the process of reaching out to the Division, the Commissioner and the Governor’s Office to raise our objections.  We will continue to keep you informed.

Contact:  Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst at 609-695-3481 x112,