Tom Neff will head New Jersey’s Division of Local Government Services and chair its Local Finance Board, which monitors the fiscal operations of cities, towns, and counties.
Neff will begin his tenure Sept. 13. As the division’s director, he will oversee technical and financial assistance for local governments, shared services, and purchasing and management concerns.
Neff will succeed Susan Jacobucci, who left the division in mid-March and is now Newark’s acting finance director. The division is part of the state’s Department of Community Affairs. Currently, Marc Pfeiffer is acting director.
Neff previously was deputy executive director of the office of the Senate minority and served as budget counsel for former governors Christine Todd Whitman and Donald DiFrancesco.
“The division is getting a leader who has tirelessly worked for years to control government spending and reign in property taxes here in New Jersey,” DCA commissioner Lori Grifa said in a statement. “Tom’s experience in budgeting and municipal finance and his [knowledge] of municipal state aid will assist local governments in improving their efficiency and help move Gov. Chris Christie’s property tax reform agenda forward.”
New Jersey municipalities must now live within a 2% property-tax levy cap. The prior increase limit was 4%. Certain expenditures such as debt-service payments and pension and health care costs are exempt from the 2% cap.
The General Assembly is working on initiatives to help municipalities control labor costs and other expenditures.
All municipal budgets in New Jersey go before the Local Finance Board for its consideration. The board also weighs in on local government debt refinancings and non-general obligation borrowings.
Neff has been a practicing attorney since 1998. He earned his law degree at Seton Hall University and has a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College.