Elected Officials Press for CARES Discretionary Funding in Five Counties

New Jersey lawmakers are working to ensure funding provided to New Jersey through the Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security (CARES) Act makes its way to counties including Warren, Sussex and Morris as they were unable to receive funding due to program limitations.

Under the CARES Act, $150 billion was made available to support states fighting the pandemic. New Jersey is expected to receive more than $3.4 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the program.

New Jersey House Delegation

The entirety of New Jersey’s House delegation, including Democrats and Republicans, requested a portion of the discretionary funding be directed to Warren, Sussex, Hunterdon and Salem counties to fill the gap left as they did not receive funding under the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG).

CDBG and ESG regulations were set into place in the 1970s and can only be provided to counties with at least 500,000 people; cities with populations over 50,000; or “principal cities,” a Census formula.

In a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy, the delegation argued discretionary funding could be allocated to help municipalities that did not receive enough relief.

These four counties remain in the so-called ‘hot’ region of the outbreak in our state and need this critical funding to get through the challenging next weeks and months. This funding will give municipal governments the flexibility to best address their most urgent needs, continue providing essential services for residents, and help their communities recover from the economic fallout caused by this public health crisis,” the letter read.

Morris County Targeted for Relief

Rep. Mikie Sherrill is teaming with State Sens. Anthony M. Bucco and Richard J. Codey to urge the governor to provide more aid to Morris County on the same basis.

Morris County recorded a population of 491,845 in 2019, just below the threshold to be awarded funding through the CDBG and ESG programs.

“Like the other counties of a similar size, Morris County has had to confront this crisis on numerous fronts,” the lawmakers wrote. “This funding is critical to Morris County’s ability to continue their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and work to keep our constituents safe.”

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