As a long-time Allendale resident, former Councilperson (2003-2008), and former Planning Board Member (2007), I can confirm that it can be a challenge to understand the laws that protect our freedoms and guide the Borough in its ongoing operations.
My research and my personal experience has taught me that we are governed by no less than the following:
- Common Law (the part of English law that is derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes)
- US Constitution and Federal laws
- NJ Constitution and NJ Statues (NJ Sunshine Laws – OPMA and OPRA; NJ Land Use Laws)
- Court Rulings
- Government Records Council (GRC)
- Advice of the Borough/Board Attorney
- Municipal Clerk Desk Reference and Municipal Clerk
- The Mayor’s bully pulpit
- “The way it’s always been”
- Undocumented “longstanding policy”
- Common sense
- Make stuff up
- Ignorance of the law
Creature of Statute
Local Governing Bodies must make decisions based on the law. They are creatures of statute – if a government takes an action, there must be a law to support it.
To protect your rights and to understand how to effectively work with your local elected representatives, you need to familiarize yourself with the following:
Borough form of government
Any discussion of the Borough form of government must start with a reading of NJSA 40A:60 or citations. These are the NJ laws that define the powers of the Mayor, the Council, and much more. The Borough is referred to as a strong Council, weak Mayor form of government.
The laws (Code) of your Borough
Once you understand the fundamentals of a Borough, you need to familiarize yourself with the working of your Governing Body.
By-Laws of the Allendale Mayor and Council define how your elected representatives organized themselves to manage your Borough resources. The By-Laws, Article 1 – Appendix 276, are contained within the Code of the Borough of Allendale.
PDF file – to simplify access, I have converted the By-Laws into a PDF file. You can download this PDF file onto your PC, then use CTRL+F to easily search on words and phrases.
Code of the Borough of Allendale are the laws of your Borough. These resources probably do not include the most recent additions or modifications.
GeneralCode.com – this web site, paid for by the Borough of Allendale, contains the complete Code of the Borough of Allendale. It is updated twice each year.
PDF file – to simplify access, I have converted the laws into a single PDF file. You can download this PDF file onto your PC, then use CTRL+F to easily search on words and phrases.
Your Borough web site
Visit the Borough of Allendale web site (www.AllendaleNJ.gov). Borough web sites are often a great on-line resource to learn about your local government, who your local elected representatives are, and how to contact Borough personnel.
NJ Sunshine laws
To understand how OPRA should be properly implemented, the Government Record Council provides an excellent FAQ.
NJ Municipal Clerk Desk Reference
This is the practical guide for the Municipal Clerk. It summarizes many important state laws and provides procedures for applying them to day to day municipal operations. It is an excellent handbook for every municipal employee and official.