FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Inventory Includes New Survey Questions to Help DCA Better Serve Municipalities

TRENTON, NJ – The Murphy Administration and Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced today that the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) has launched an online portal that provides municipalities easier access to the Best Practices Inventory. The Inventory is an annual benchmarking municipal questionnaire that evaluates municipal performance in key operational and financial areas and assists DLGS in identifying areas of need so it can offer support to municipalities to help them operate more efficiently and inform them of potential training and grant opportunities. 

“In the past, this Inventory was solely regarded as a requirement for towns to receive State Municipal Aid, but now it is transformed into an online tool that ensures both compliance and improved access to valuable support the State can provide to help us better serve residents and save taxpayer dollars,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “Governor Murphy and I want municipal leaders to understand this is not a punitive questionnaire - it is an adaptive accountability and resource targeting tool. Municipal residents can greatly benefit from their municipality’s responses to the Inventory.”

Inventory answers can also provide residents with an additional means of evaluating their municipality’s performance, including transparency about how their tax dollars are being spent.

The Best Practices Inventory is now hosted on an internet-based platform featuring greatly improved functionality and user-friendliness over the prior Excel form. Municipal leaders are required to fill it out online this year. Click here for Instructions for filling out the Inventory online. 

Over the past two years, the Inventory has undergone changes to better target and serve municipal needs.  The new targeted questions may prompt a response or offer of program assistance from the DLGS or other divisions within DCA.

For example, one question asks in which areas the responding municipality could benefit from technical assistance provided by the Division’s new Local Assistance Bureau (“LAB”). The LAB employs an innovative approach to local services, providing no-cost comprehensive management consulting services to municipalities utilizing experienced local government professionals and data-driven analytics.

The Inventory features new and recurring questions on a variety of topics including: 

  • Personnel
  • Budgeting
  • Financial Administration
  • Capital Projects
  • Transparency
  • Authorities
  • Cybersecurity
  • Shared Services
  • Miscellaneous Operations
  • PILOTS & Ratables
  • Environment
  • Affordable Housing

“We aim to use this Inventory to develop a better understanding of the status of municipal operations and practices in New Jersey,” said DLGS Director Melanie Walter. “We want municipalities to know we share the common goal of creating more efficient governments that serve residents first.”

The Inventory, which has a total of 84 questions, assesses if each municipality is meeting various laws, referred to as “core competencies.” It also assesses adherence to best practices in finance and operations. Questions classified as measuring “core competency” are worth more than “best practice” questions.

All municipalities, including those on a State Fiscal Year budget cycle, are required to submit their completed Inventory online to DLGS by Wednesday, October 30, 2019.  If municipalities do not submit their Best Practices Inventory or do not score 30 or greater points on the Inventory, they stand to lose the entirety or a portion of their final state aid payment, which represents 5 percent of a municipality’s total state aid. 

Municipal leaders can fill out the survey online here: 

For additional details about the survey and how it is scored, please view the Local Finance Notice

DCA was established in 1967 and today offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery.

For more information about DCA, visit or follow the Department on social media:     

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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055