North Jersey News Roundup for May 29, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy plans to give more specifics on the reopening of the New Jersey May 29 even as state officials expressed concerns about some recent COVID-19 spikes in significant data points. “In some cases we’ll be very specific, in other cases we’re going to point you directionally where we’re headed with some of the details to be filled in at a later point,” Murphy said.

The Murphy administration has reportedly fired the state’s top Health Department official in charge of emergency preparedness during the coronavirus pandemic. Christopher Neuwirth, the assistant commissioner of Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories & Emergency Preparedness and oversaw emergency medical services and the state office of Disaster Resilience, was allegedly terminated for cause. New Jersey Globe

New projections issued by the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) forecast a revenue gap about $500 million smaller than the estimated Murphy administration’s $10 billion. Between now and the end of June, the OLS is forecasting tax collections will come in about $383 million above the Murphy administration’s latest projectionsand about $104 million higher for July, August and September. Much of the difference shows up in the sales tax, with the OLS taking a more optimistic view of the potential for an economic recovery than the state’s Treasury has. NJ Spotlight

The state is cutting about $335 million in proposed aid to New Jersey school districts as it deals with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Even with the reduction, about a 3.7% decrease from what Gov. Phil Murphy proposed in February, aid which would be equal to that given in the 2019-20 school year.

New Jersey saw the lowest weekly total of people seeking unemployment benefits since the coronavirus outbreak struck. New applications fell to 34,410, down from about 42,000 the week before, and far below a record high of 215,000 in early April. In total, the state has processed 1.1 million claims totaling $4.3 billion in payments.

Official approval to toll hikes on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway was granted by Gov. Phil Murphy. The toll hikes will fund 24 major projects on the Turnpike and 29 on the Parkway, including pavement “preservation,” lighting upgrades and median barrier improvements to bridge rehabilitation and a $900 million effort to convert all tolls on both highways to E-ZPass and pay-by-mail. The plan will also establish a new toll exit—19W—near the Meadowlands. The Record

Gov. Phil Murphy warned it’s still too early for indoor businesses like gyms and salons to reopen. “We’ve got to be exceedingly careful on indoor, sedentary, lacking-ventilation, close-proximity realities,” Murphy said. News12 New Jersey

Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus reached an agreement with Avery Eisenreich to lease Bayonne Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center. Eisenreich has accepted the deal, as opposed to the county seizing his property through eminent domain or condemnation. No details were provided. Hudson Reporter

The Hoboken school system is expecting an 18% increase in enrollment next year, its largest jump in at least five years. The district is expected to grow by 380 students in the fall, with three-quarters of those new students being in grades K-5. The Jersey Journal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Sen. Bob Menendez of “hackery” over his public questioning of whether the chief U.S. diplomat had violated regulations governing American officials’ political activity. Pompeo’s written attack on Menendez was the second time in recent days he’s blamed the New Jersey senator for unflattering attention he’s been receiving since his push to fire the State Department’s inspector general. PoliticoNJ

The Hoboken Fire Department promoted Audra Carter to battalion chief, the first woman to hold that position in the city’s history. An 18-year veteran of the department, Carter served the past nine years as a fire captain. Hudson Reporter

And finally…Bruce Springsteen will perform with the Dropkick Murphy’s tonight. Billboard

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