NJ Governor Murphy Announces $37 Million in Funding for Counties to Combat COVID-19

MOUNT OLIVE, NJ (STL.News) Acting on a commitment to deliver relief to communities who were not eligible for federal funding allocated through the CARES Act, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Thursday announced $37 million in support for 12 additional counties to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  The funding will be made available to counties in three separate tranches under one Memorandum of Agreement.  The 12 counties include: Atlantic; Burlington; Cape May; Cumberland; Gloucester; Hunterdon; Mercer; Morris; Salem; Somerset; Sussex; and Warren.  These counties were ineligible for Coronavirus Relief Funding because their populations are below 500,000.

“There is no denying that COVID-19 has placed an incredible amount of strain on resources across all levels of government,” said Governor Murphy.  “I’ve been clear from day one of this crisis that we’ll spare no expense to protect the health and safety of New Jerseyans, and that requires us to provide our communities with the support they need.  Together, this funding will help us save lives and emerge stronger as one New Jersey family.”

The first portion of funding, approximately $15 million in total, provides counties with a reimbursement for COVID-19 related expenses to date.  This money represents 25 percent of the county cost share with FEMA paying the remaining 75 percent, along with other eligible Coronavirus Relief Fund expenses.  These funds will be made available to all 12 counties upon signing the MOU and upon proper documentation of the expenditures were made available to all 12 counties upon signing the MOU.

The second portion of funding will help counties stand up and maintain testing sites.  All 12 counties will receive $357,500 for this purpose.

The final allotment is based on population size, and each county will receive funds from the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for the Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases to support ongoing testing of vulnerable and high-risk populations.  Counties will receive this funding only after submitting a testing plan and gaining approval of that plan by the Department of Health.  The sum total of this portion of funding is $17 million.

A breakdown of funding by county can be found here.

“No corner of our state has been immune from the pandemic as communities across New Jersey bleed resources to combat COVID-19 and maintain essential services, while revenues continue to plummet due to the pandemic’s economic fallout,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.  “While this funding will help alleviate some of the strain on local budgets, our towns, cities and counties need more federal assistance to address their growing needs.  That’s why I am leading bipartisan legislation that will deliver robust, direct and flexible federal funding to every community in the nation, regardless of its size, in any new coronavirus stimulus package.”

“No corner of our state has been immune from the pandemic as communities across New Jersey bleed resources to combat COVID-19 and maintain essential services, while revenues continue to plummet due to the pandemic’s economic fallout,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.  “While this funding will help alleviate some of the strain on local budgets, our towns, cities and counties need more federal assistance to address their growing needs.  That’s why I am leading bipartisan legislation that will deliver robust, direct and flexible federal funding to every community in the nation, regardless of its size, in any new coronavirus stimulus package.”

“The dual public health and economic crises created by COVID-19 has put New Jersey communities and local leaders on the frontlines,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker.  “I am grateful to Governor Murphy and our state and local leaders for their continued efforts to ensure that no community in New Jersey is left behind as we fight this virus, and that is why I am continuing to work to ensure that the next relief bill to come out of Congress includes robust state and local funding that will give communities the resources they desperately need to continue critical services and help us recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19.”

Since the beginning of this crisis, when North Jersey was in the eye of the COVID storm, I’ve been fighting to ensure that all of our counties, towns, and local governments get the federal resources they need to help them survive, recover, and grow,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer.  “The millions of new resources going to Sussex and Warren Counties today are in addition to the hundreds of millions of CARES Act dollars that have already boosted each of the counties in New Jersey’s Fifth District.  I’m proud that with a great deal of cooperation — from across the aisle and from every corner of this great State — we are all able to ensure our communities, families, businesses, first responders and frontline health care workers have the continued support they need.”

“I voted for the CARES Act because I saw firsthand the impact this crisis has had on Burlington County and our townships,” said Congressman Andy Kim.  “The expanded testing paid for by this funding will go a long way towards helping us put an end to this pandemic and keeping our families safe, but it’s not enough.  Congress needs to step up and finish the job to deliver additional funding to our state and counties.  This crisis has hit us hard enough, we shouldn’t see teachers and police laid off or services cut because Washington didn’t stand up for New Jersey.  I’ll continue working with the Freeholders, our state leaders, and my colleagues to fight for that funding and help our communities get through this crisis.”

“Covid-19 knows no borders and our small towns have borne an incredible financial burden to keep us safe,” Congressman Tom Malinowski.  “This CARES Act funding will deliver the direct relief they need to continue providing vital public services. I continue to fight in Congress for additional state and local funding to support communities across our district.”

“The fight against coronavirus requires partnership across all levels of government.  Today’s announcement reflects a true collaborative effort,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill.  “Throughout this pandemic, Morris and Sussex Counties’ investment in a comprehensive coronavirus response has greatly benefited our communities.  The funding announced by the Governor today, which uses federal Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars established by the CARES Act, will reimburse the counties for past efforts and will continue to be invested in future public health measures.  Additional federal funding for the counties will also come from FEMA.  More needs to be done, and I remain focused on fighting in Congress for further direct support for our state, our counties, and our municipalities.”

“I am grateful for the Governor’s recognition of the needs of all New Jersey localities in response to the coronavirus,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “New Jersey was one of the hardest hit areas in the world.  No corner of the state went untouched by Covid-19.  This funding will allow Mercer and Somerset County to begin the process of economic recovery and preparation for any future waves.”

“NJAC commends Governor Murphy for his leadership in supporting the vital role county governments are playing in protecting the public health, safety, and welfare of residents across the State and for making a crucial investment into expanding COVID-19 testing for those in need, first responders, and county employees and residents,” said John G. Donnadio, Esq., Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of Counties.

Original release published August 20, 2020